This is the third of three articles this week to mark the one-year anniversary of Newcastle United’s controversial takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium. First George Caulkin and Chris Waugh explained how the club has changed in 12 months. Yesterday Oliver Kay was in Saudi Arabia to ask questions about how the takeover is perceived there, football’s role in the country and allegations of sportswashing. Today Matt Slater examines the degree of Saudi involvement and influence at the Premier League club.
First announced last October and bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, it is the beginning of a quest to smash the status quo.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the boss of that fund and Newcastle United’s new chairman, and his Saudi colleague Majed Al Sorour, a Newcastle director, are bouncing around, enjoying the applause and hugging the superstars their money has attracted.
And why not? This project has been dogged by controversy — and they know there are more battles to come — but none of it would be happening without them. This is their moment and they want to own it.
We are talking about the inaugural event of the LIV Golf series, of course. Three rounds of… erm, sub-par golf in Hemel Hempstead in June.
The sixth tournament in the rebel tour’s season is in Thailand this weekend, with the seventh coming a week later at Saudi Arabia’s best course, the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
- Newcastle United’s takeover: How strong is Saudi Arabia’s influence one year on?
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