Graphic shows significant sports bids by Middle East countries.


Rise of sports new order

By Duncan Mil

October 8, 2021 - Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has followed in the footsteps of neighbouring rivals, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, investing billions of dollars to make their mark on international sports.

Riyadh’s latest move comes with the Saudi Arabians Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) £300m (US$408 million) takeover of English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United.

The Premier League has approved the takeover after receiving “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not control the club.

The PIF will provide 80% of the funds for the deal, making Newcastle one of the wealthiest clubs in the world.

A Premier League statement said: “The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club.”

The multi-million-pound bid from the PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers to buy Newcastle United from British businessman Mike Ashley collapsed in April 2020.

The resolution came after Saudi Arabia settled an alleged piracy dispute with Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports, which shows Premier League matches in the Middle East.

PUBLISHED: 08/10/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images