April 23, 2024

Newcastle United’s ownership was questioned in a House of Lords debate last week, but the independent regulator will not include a provision prohibiting such ownership arrangements.
Following a proposal for a ban on ‘foreign state ownership’, a government minister stressed that the independent regulator’s ‘primary emphasis’ is the financial sustainability of clubs.

Lord Scriven, vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on democracy and human rights in the Gulf, mentioned Newcastle United in a House of Lords debate this week. The Liberal Democrat peer stated ‘government entities invest extensively in high-profile sports teams to promote the investor’s worldwide image’ before adding that ‘we see that with Saudi Arabia and Newcastle United’ after the PIF bought an 80% stake in 2021.

Following the release of the football governance bill this week, which will establish the independent football regulator, Lord Scriven wants the government to ‘think through foreign ownership of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia and the McLaren F1 team by Bahrain…in terms of banning foreign state ownership of clubs and teams here’. However, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for culture, media, and sport, pointed out that the regulator does not include a provision outlawing such ownership schemes.


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“We do not think it would be appropriate for a football regulator to make unilateral assessments of human rights concerns,” he went on to say. “If an owner or officer is sanctioned in accordance with the global human rights sanctions regulations, which the government proposed and approved in 2020, they will most likely be barred from becoming a club owner or director.”

“The regulator’s principal focus is on the financial stability of clubs and the industry. Clubs are owned by a variety of entities, including states and individuals with ties to foreign governments.

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