Premier League clubs vote to block sponsorship deals involving owners.© AFP
Premier League clubs have voted to temporarily block teams from entering into lucrative deals with businesses that have ties to their club owners following the Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle. The Guardian newspaper reported that 18 clubs voted in favor of the ban at an emergency meeting on Monday, with Newcastle voting and Manchester City abstaining. Both are understood to have questioned the legality of the move. A one-month temporary ban on such deals will be imposed, while the possibility of a permanent ban is under debate.
Many clubs in the English top-flight fear Newcastle’s wealthy Saudi owners could make compromises in the oil-rich kingdom that could give them an advantage.
Last week, Leeds boss Andrea Radrizani said financial fair play rules should be implemented to ensure the 20 Premier League clubs are “playing the same game”.
Premier League champions City, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, have made deals known as related party transactions, for example sponsorship from the Abu Dhabi government-owned carrier Etihad Airways.
The Newcastle takeover was rubber-stamped by the Premier League earlier this month after it received a legally binding assurance that the Saudi state would not control the club.
This was despite the fact that Saudi Arabia’s state sovereign wealth fund – the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – owns 80 percent of the club and that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is listed as chairman of the PIF board.
PIF governor and new Newcastle president Yasser Al-Rumayyan was in attendance for the club’s first match since takeover on Sunday, which they lost 3-2 to Tottenham.
Newcastle are currently second from the bottom in the Premier League, without a win in their first eight matches.
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