This thing will never end, folks. It’s the year 2022 of our lord, and we are still getting weekly news and notes and reports about this or that topic when it comes to the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and other state-owned clubs. It is what it is, and it is also the reality Newcastle chose to accept when the club green-lighted the Saudi Arabia-linked takeover that took place last October.
The Guardian is now reporting a seeming link between that move and the government in the United Kingdom, led by Primer Minister Boris Johnson. As reported by The Guardian, Johnson and his minister for investment, Lord Gerry Grimstone, worked together with the new owners of Newcastle in order to “facilitate the deal”. Those discussions involved Grimstone as well as representatives of the Arabian country and former Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman.
Downing Street’s no. 10 and the Premier League have made no comments on the reported information nor Grimston’s involvement in the negotiations between both countries with Newcastle smacked right in the middle. The Premier League has alleged that “board and club meeting discussions are confidential” but at the same time the league spokesperson said the Premier League “did not dispute any of the details.”
It is known that Grimston’s ministerial role is tightly linked with working out deals to foster investments from the Gulf, and The Guardian is reporting heavy links between the minister and Saudi Arabia.
Newcastle’s takeover took place in October 2021 with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF; chaired by Prince Mohammed) buying an 80% stake in the club with Amanda Staveley, his spouse Mehrdad Ghodussi, and new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan as the leading people in charge of the organization.
Premier League’s ex-chairman Hoffman resigned when the rest of the PL clubs didn’t react nicely to the takeover after declaring that “the government had put pressure on the league to approve the deal.” That was later rebuffed by Richard Masters, the league’s chief executive, who told BBC that “there were conversations with the government but there was no pressure applied.”
It took more than a year for the takeover to be completed as the Premier League did not approve it in June/September 2020 and the deal only went through a mere seven months ago after the PIF legally assured that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) wouldn’t be involved nor control Newcastle United.