LONDON (AP) — English Premier League club Newcastle was sold to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund on Thursday after a protracted takeover and legal fight involving concerns about piracy and rights abuses in the kingdom.
The takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund initially collapsed last year over concerns about how much control the kingdom’s leadership would have in the running of Newcastle amid concerns about Saudi human rights abuses and the pirating of sports rights.
PIF has had to offer assurances to the Premier League that its chairman, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and in turn the state will not have any control of the running of Newcastle.
“We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football," PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said. “We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.”
The PIF will be the majority partner alongside wealthy British-based Reuben brothers and financier Amanda Staveley.
The Premier League said “the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect” following the completion of its owners’ and directors’ test.
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Rob Harris, The Associated Press