Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund Pulls Out of Newcastle Takeover

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Newcastle United's Saudi takeover appears to have collapsed
Newcastle United's Saudi takeover appears to have collapsed / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers have withdrawn their interest in taking over Newcastle United Football Club.

Rumours of a potential £300m Saudi takeover of the Magpies first surfaced several months ago, although as has often been the case with the club, negotiations have moved at a frustratingly slow pace.

Now, it appears that the takeover has collapsed altogether, with the three interested parties pulling out.

A statement read: "With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

"We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to the position of its history, tradition and fans' merit.

"Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club's owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities."

Newcastle may now have to put their summer spending spree on hold
Newcastle may now have to put their summer spending spree on hold / GRAHAM STUART/Getty Images

The takeover was controversial from the outset with several journalists pointing out that the Saudi state was potentially using the club for sports washing as it attempted to reconcile its international reputation following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

These assertions were supported by Amnesty International who warned that the Premier League risked becoming a 'patsy' if it sanctioned the deal without taking a serious look into the country's various human rights offences.

However, these issues would have been unlikely to see the potential new owners fail the division's fit and proper persons test. The real reason for the delay in the negotiations is believed to be a disagreement over television rights, specifically Saudi Arabia's potential involvement in the extensive piracy of Premier League games.