Arab Money

Football is big business, and it is worth billions if you look at how much money is transacted during each transfer window, for example.

But if you look at the club ownerships, there is even a larger chunk of money that goes into this part of the lucrative soccer business.

What teams are involved with “Arab money” though? 

This week, Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund says it is committing $2.3bn to new, long-term football sponsorships in deals this year in a sign of the kingdom’s growing ambitions in the world’s most popular sport.

The Public Investment Fund bought Premier League club Newcastle United for just over £300mn last year.

The report in the Financial Times says PIF had entered into sponsorship agreements “with multiple football clubs amounting to SAR8.75bn [$2.3bn]” in the first eight months of 2022.

Before purchasing Newcastle United, they were offered 30% ownership of a Premier League club, rumoured to be Manchester United, for £700 million.

In early 2019, it was reported that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the chairman of the sovereign wealth fund, was interested in acquiring the Old Trafford club.

According to media reports, he denied that any agreement had been reached.

PIF shifted their focus to Newcastle. They reached an agreement in April 2020, but had to wait over a year for it to be ratified, which cost them £305 million. 

PIF now owns 80% of Newcastle, with the Reuben brothers’ RB Sports & Media owning 10% and Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners owning the remaining 10%.

With the large amount of cash in hand for soccer dealings, the question is which are the other clubs that could fall under PIFs dealership?

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Besides Newcastle, Manchester City is an example of “Arab money” that has poured into the Premier League. 

It  is owned by three organisations; of which 78% is majority owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, 14% by the American firm Silver Lake and 8% by Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.

Read more about “Arab money” in the world of football here

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