A Saudi Arabian heritage fund recently acquired English Premier League club Newcastle United.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund successfully bought England’s football team from Newcastle United after 18 months of protracted disputes. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is believed to be behind the $ 409 million buyout of the first division club. The kingdom’s involvement raises concerns because of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
A consortium led by the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, finalized the transaction on October 7.
Ouisssssss. We can dare to hope again 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 🙋🏼♂️⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️ #NUFC
– Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) October 7, 2021
British billionaire business mogul Mike Ashley sells the club after 14 years. According to CNBC, fans are happy that Ashley’s tenure is over. Many have blamed his cost-cutting measures for devastating the team’s performance and reputation.
Ashley sold 80% of the team to the Saudi consortium. Real estate developers Simon and David Reuben and PCP Capital Partners will share the remaining 20%.
The Saudi consortium has pursued the takeover since 2017, but has stalled several times. The biggest obstacle was the England team’s concern over the control the Saudi state would have over their affairs.
Last year, the two sides reneged on a previous agreement. The consortium could not prove sufficient separation between the group and the Saudi state. Their concern revolved around Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s closeness to the team.
The Premier League was quick to announce that the Saudi prince would not be the person in charge of making decisions at Newcastle.
“The Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club.” The Premier League said in a statement.
Established in 1971, the Public Investment Fund invests money on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. According to Marca, the fund derives most of its money from oil, which Saudi Arabia has sold around the world. The fund is looking to find ways to make long-term money as the country moves away from dependence on oil.
The fund has invested in many well-known companies. Disney, Uber, Facebook, Starbucks and Pfizer are all among the fund’s investments.
Amnesty International says the purchase is sportswear, which invests in sports to distract from bad human rights records.
“Since this deal was first brought up, we have said that it represents a clear attempt by the Saudi authorities to wash away their appalling human rights record with the glamor of top-level football,” he said. he adds. Sacha Deshmukh, Managing Director of Amnesty International in the UK, said in a press release.
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