New Newcastle United owners: Endless money, sportswashing that brought more controversy, and a new era

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 15.5.2023.

Newcastle United

After the rain, comes the sun. Or in the case of Newcastle United, even a rainbow. That's how most supporters of the club see the changing of the guard at the very top level of the hierarchy. After 14 years of Mike Ashley at the helm, NUFC was sold to a consortium in October of 2021! New Newcastle United owners have sparked a lot of controversy and some confusion.

Not by their transfer moves, unlike Chelsea's new ownership, but due to who is standing behind the main part of the consortium - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Without getting political, sticking to the facts, here's the explanation of Newcastle United's new ownership.

Newcastle United's owners since October 2021

After months of negotiations and blocking by the Premier League committee in charge of weighing in on who can and who cannot be an owner of a top-flight English club, Newcastle was sold. That is, Mike Ashley sold the club after 14 years of agony by the fans.

The new ownership breakdown of Newcastle United sees three major stakeholders:

- 80% owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia
- 10% by Amanda Staveley
- 10% by the Reuben brothers.

Of course, the issue parts of the British public have with the purchase comes down to the ownership of the Saudi PIF. As Saudia Arabia is viewed as a country where human rights aren't to the standards of Western societies.

While another issue was with broadcasting rights that get violated in that part of the world via piracy.

The first rumours of a planned Newcastle United takeover happened in the spring of 2020, yet it faced strong resistance due to the mentioned reasons.

In the fall of 2020, Newcastle United proclaimed that the league officially rejected the takeover offer.

A year later, the takeover was, after all, finalized.

Strong reports from the political world claim that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was pressured by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that a further blockade of the deal would negatively impact UK-Saudi relations.

The Premier League received "legally-binding assurances" that the Saudi state will have no control over the club. Yet, that seems impossible as PIF is an extension of it. While the Newcastle’s chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is a sitting minister of the Saudi government. He is also a chairman in the Saudi state-owned petroleum company.

Who and how rich are the new Newcastle United owners?

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is labelled as a sovereign wealth fund with assets estimated at €600 billion! Due to its oil riches, Saudi Arabia is extraoridinarly wealthy and influential.

The PIF was established in 1971 by King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, with the intention of supporting projects of strategic significance to the national economy.

Take that as you will.

One of the three parts of the consortium that took over Newcastle in 2021 are the Reuben brothers. That is David and Simon Reuben, Indian-born British businessmen whose joined wealth is valued at €18.34 billion. The two are self-made entrepreneurs who did their work in a lot of fields.

Yet the most vocal and seemingly the face of Newcastle United's new era is Amanda Staveley. She is the 50-year-old British business executive who represented the company PCP Capital Partners in the consortium. Alongside her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi.

Amanda Staveley had a prominent role in the investment of billions of euros into the Barclays banks by the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Qatar back in 2008. In 2017 she attempted to buy a stake in Newcastle United, yet failed on its own. Now, she is by far the least wealthy of the Newcastle owners, with her wealth estimated at €170,000,000.

With the sales of Manchester United and Liverpool looming, there were rumours that the PIF might move to bigger fish, yet Staveley has denied those rumours.

"When we looked at Newcastle, we were very clear we wanted a club with a passionate fanbase. We got that. We also wanted a club we could buy affordably. We didn't go for the wonderful Tottenham and Chelsea and Liverpool. I'm a massive Liverpool fan and we tried to buy them but we walked into a Newcastle game and said 'why spend X billion when you can spend ?300m," said Staveley.

Even though PIF is clearly an extended hand (or finger) of the Saudi state, the very colouring of their purchase as sports washing is peculiar. Seeing how before it, few people in the United Kingdom were even aware of the country and the state of human rights in it. Now, all that the country seemingly got in the media is bad press. Something they could've easily seen from the media's treatment of Roman Abramovich during his time at Chelsea.

NUFC became a private company limited by shares in 1895. Now in 2023, Newcastle United's new owners are taking the club in a direction that seemed impossible just a few years back. Let alone over a century ago.



Share this article?
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Send it to your friends
Viber Whatsapp Facebook Telegram

Love what you're reading? Subscribe to our newsletter and have our articles delivered straight to your inbox, ensuring you never miss out on the latest updates.

Read These Next