EFL chief responds to Newcastle takeover and makes big claim on ownership

The Magpies’ £305m takeover means they now have the richest backers in English football and the new owners are already targeting the Champions League and winning trophies

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Amanda Staveley speaks to the media after confirmed Newcastle takeover

Rick Parry, the chair of the English Football League (EFL), says it is too late to discuss the matter on football clubs being owned by sovereign wealth funds.

Parry’s comments came in the wake of Newcastle United’s takeover being rubber-stamped.

The deal, worth an estimated £305million, means the Magpies are now 80 per cent owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The Premier League says it has received legally-binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not have control over the club. However, it remains the case that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is the chair of the PIF.

Rick Parry, chairman of the EFL

That has led to many questioning the ethics and morality of the move.

Parry was asked about the topic of such ownership models and told PA : “It is a bit late, not just at the English level but at the European level.

“We’ve got Manchester City and Paris St Germain in the same Champions League group, they have produced some breathtaking football over the last year in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Newcastle fans have celebrated their change in ownership

“But if, to produce that level of football and that level of team, you have to be owned by a sovereign wealth fund, is that where football wants to be? Well, the problem is, it’s where football is.

“So it’s a bit late to have a philosophical discussion on whether we want sovereign wealth funds to own football clubs. That horse has bolted.”

The Premier League ratified the deal after a lengthy vetting process and against a backdrop of human rights campaigners questioning the move. The test for owners and directors is aligned with that of the EFL.

Regarding this particular issue, Parry added: “We’ve made no secret of the fact that we want to improve our financial regulation.

What are your thoughts on Newcastle’s takeover? Have your say below.

“Over the last two years we have been robust, we’ve been pretty firm, we have resisted quite a number of applications.

“We don’t specifically have clauses on human rights. We have a lot of overseas owners at every level of the EFL and you have to constantly respond to changing circumstances.

“We’ve made no pretence that it’s always work in progress for us. Can our owners’ and directors’ test be improved still further? Yes, clearly. But as I said, the last two years, I think we’ve actually done pretty well, we’ve avoided a few potential banana skins.

“But these are huge dilemmas for football, on a scale which we have probably never had to address before.”

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