Error: undefined is not an object (evaluating 'e.cycleInterval') http://www.sportsflash.com.au/app/app.min.js?v=3.0:1:40159 invoke@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:8:33897 http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9:13451 d@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:8:83373 http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:8:66264 http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9:51165 $eval@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:10:1141 $digest@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9:89081 $apply@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:10:1442 l@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9:30629 $@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9:32404 onload@http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9:32880 undefined http://www.sportsflash.com.au/js/all.min.js?v=3.0:9 TypeError: undefined is not an object (evaluating 'e[t]') http://www.sportsflash.com.au/app/app.min.js?v=3.0:1 in o http://www.sportsflash.com.au/app/app.min.js?v=3.0:1 SportsFlash : Saudi plans for Newcastle may not be on scale of Man City transformation
Saudi plans for Newcastle may not be on scale of Man City transformation
Reuters 600px 600px
  • 04 May 20
  • Soccer
  • 4
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Coronavirus impact on the Premier League - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - March 14, 2020  General view outside St James' Park as the Premier League is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.  REUTERS/Scott Heppell 691px 444px FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Coronavirus impact on the Premier League - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - March 14, 2020 General view outside St James' Park as the Premier League is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. REUTERS/Scott Heppell

By Saeed Azhar and Simon Evans

DUBAI/MANCHESTER (Reuters) - A bid by a Saudi Arabian state fund to secure ownership of Newcastle United is drawing scrutiny, but even if it succeeds it is unlikely that the petrodollars will transform the Premier League club into a powerhouse in the near future.

The prospect of the Saudi bid fuelling a rapid rise to the top, in the manner of MANCHESTER City's four title successes under owners from the United Arab Emirates, has thrilled many Newcastle fans, but several analysts believe that the investment impact may not be on such a scale.

A group fronted by British financier Amanda Staveley, with an expected 80% investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF and 10 percent involvement from billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, have made a reported 300 million pound ($375 million) bid to buy the club from British businessman Mike Ashley.

The proposal faces some early obstacles and the prospect of Saudi ownership of a top English club has been condemned by human rights groups.

Saudi Arabia was internationally criticised after the 2018 murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, the Yemen war and the detention of several women’s rights activists.

Added to that there is the long-running dispute with Qatari company BeInSport regarding allegations of Saudi tolerance of 'pirate' broadcasts in the kingdom -- an issue which has been raised by some parliamentarians in the UK.

The proposed takeover is now being reviewed as part of the Premier League's "owners' and directors' test", which was previously known as the 'fit and proper person's test'.

Investors wanting to become owners of English professional clubs have to show they have no unspent criminal conviction for fraud, are not bankrupt, and have not been banned from serving as a company director.

Newcastle supporters, however, are mostly excited at the prospect of major investment in their team, which has not featured in the Champions League since 2004 and has not won the English title since 1927 or FA Cup since 1955, despite claiming one of the country's largest fan bases.

The timing of the bid, though, is far from ideal -- the Premier League is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Moody's Investors Service cut Saudi Arabia's outlook to "negative" from "stable", saying the oil price crash has raised fiscal risks for the Gulf nation.

"It is a relatively risky undertaking at a time when it looks like the kingdom will need a lot of liquid assets to finance deficits and maintain its currency peg," says Steffen Hertog, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics.

IMPROVING INFLUENCE

Hertog, like a number of observers, believes the Saudi involvement is aimed at improving the country's influence and image outside of its borders but says economic realities may limit PIF's ambitions.

"It definitely is part of an Abu Dhabi style soft power strategy, but I am not sure how much extra money they will pour into the club. Given current fiscal developments and the travails of some of the PIF’s other assets, there are likely to be constraints to Saudi generosity," he said.

MANCHESTER City's UAE owners have been closely involved in the major decision-making at the club with Khaldoon Al Mubarak chairman since September 2008 but that path may not be followed by the Saudis.

"PIF does not have the experience or capacity to be 'hands on' so would likely take a back seat," says Neil Quilliam, CEO of Gulf-focused consultancy Castlereagh Associates.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan addressed, in a television interview on Saturday, the issue of investments abroad, without directly mentioning PIF’s potential bid for Newcastle.

"The investments are highly important because they have returns we can use in case of a crisis to curb the deficit. If we use the reserves, we consume the assets and won’t have any returns.

"Also, these types of crises create investment opportunities. Many companies reduce their investments, which creates opportunities to invest in them," he told Al Arabiya news channel.

PIF manages over $300 billion in assets. It has been in existence since 1971, but became a more active investor since 2015 when it started reporting to a high-level economic body headed by the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

PIF has been tasked with delivering on Prince Mohammed’s ambitious economic transformation drive to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil revenues.

The fund is headed by former Saudi banker Yasir al-Rumayyan, whose title is governor and is seen as close to Prince Mohammed.

Financial sources have told Reuters that the crown prince had a say on many strategic PIF decisions, such as Softbank’s Vision fund investment.

(Writing by Simon Evans, additional reporting by Kirstin Ridley and Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

2019 English PL Fixtures & Results

CHoose a series

CHoose A Stage

CHoose A TEAM

2019/2020 Premier League
2019/2020 Bundesliga
2019/2020 Serie A
2019/2020 La Liga
2019/2020 UEFA Champions League
2019/2020 UEFA Europa League
2019/2020 A-League
2018/2019 Ligue 1
2018/2019 Primeira Liga
2018 World Cup
2019 English PL Standings

CHoose a series

  • Group
  • e
Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1 Liverpool LIV 89 33 29 2 2 72 25 +47 89
2 Manchester City MAC 66 33 21 3 9 81 34 +47 66
3 Leicester City LEI 58 33 17 7 9 63 31 +32 58
4 Chelsea CHE 57 33 17 6 10 60 44 +16 57
5 Manchester United MUN 55 33 15 10 8 56 33 +23 55
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 52 33 13 13 7 45 36 +9 52
7 Arsenal ARS 49 33 12 13 8 49 41 +8 49
8 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 48 33 13 9 11 52 44 +8 48
9 Sheffield United SHE 48 33 12 12 9 34 33 +1 48
10 Burnley BUR 46 33 13 7 13 37 46 -9 46
11 Everton EVE 44 33 12 8 13 40 48 -8 44
12 Newcastle United NEW 43 33 11 10 12 35 45 -10 43
13 Southampton SOU 43 33 13 4 16 42 55 -13 43
14 Crystal Palace CRY 42 33 11 9 13 28 40 -12 42
15 Brighton & Hove Albion BRI 36 33 8 12 13 35 44 -9 36
16 West Ham United WES 31 33 8 7 18 40 58 -18 31
17 Watford WAT 28 33 6 10 17 29 52 -23 28
18 Aston Villa AST 27 33 7 6 20 36 62 -26 27
19 AFC Bournemouth BOU 27 33 7 6 20 32 59 -27 27
20 Norwich City NOR 21 33 5 6 22 25 61 -36 21
*e1 & e2 advances to R16, e3 possible R16
2019/2020 Premier League
2019/2020 Bundesliga
2019/2020 Serie A
2019/2020 La Liga
2019/2020 UEFA Champions League
2019/2020 UEFA Europa League
2019/2020 A-League
2018/2019 Ligue 1
2018/2019 Primeira Liga
2018 World Cup
Related News
150px 103px 600px 600px
150px 103px 600px 600px
150px 103px 600px 600px