Newcastle will be allowed Saudi Arabian sponsorship deals, Premier League decides

A Saudi Arabian-backed £305m takeover of Newcastle United was completed in October

Newcastle United will be allowed sponsorship deals with Saudi Arabian companies as long as the Premier League considers them “fair market value”.

On Tuesday Premier League shareholders removed the temporary block put on the club since its controversial takeover.

Clubs have been uneasy over the takeover, which triggered the exit of Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman at the end of January.

The Premier League board will decide what is “fair market value”.

There was a concern Newcastle could sign deals with companies closely aligned to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund that provide much of the finance for the takeover, which would be used to inflate their spending capacity under Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

An idea to block all related commercial deals was quickly discarded.

Instead, the Premier League has agreed that what are regarded as ‘associated party transactions’ will be allowed but subject to heavy scrutiny.

The Premier League board will take guidance from an independent external assessor on deals.

In addition, they will have access to a confidential data bank, created by the Premier League, which will accumulate previous commercial deals across the league to assess their value.

League chiefs hope this will prevent manipulation of FFP regulations.

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