Newcastle United's Saudi bosses 'seek to build sporting empire to match' UAE-owned Manchester City: report
The Saudi owners of Newcastle United are seeking to build a sporting empire to match the multi-club industry amassed by Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners, said reports Monday.
Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) bought the English Premier League side in a controversial takeover last year, alongside British businesswoman Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers.
The Times reported that Newcastle's owners are attempting to appoint Majed Al-Sorour, chief executive of the Saudi Golf Federation, as a director of the club.
This move is seen as part of plans to build a global sports portfolio centred on The Magpies who are currently in the kingdom for a winter training camp.
"Congratulations to our beloved Newcastle United football club," said Al-Sorour following the club's victory against Leeds United on Saturday.
"I couldn’t be more proud of our win and can’t wait to welcome you to Saudi Arabia tomorrow night."
The Newcastle squad travelled to Saudi Arabia over the weekend, for what was described as a week-long “warm-weather training camp”.
Al-Sorour is an ex-professional footballer who played for Saudi side Al-Nassr before starting a career in business. He was appointed Deputy Chairman and CEO of Golf Saudi last year.
The Saudi attended Newcastle's FA Cup match against Cambridge United at St James' Park with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Al-Sorour's appointment as a new director has been passed to the Premier League for approval under its owners' and directors' test, reported The Times.
Amnesty International has slammed the Saudi-led Newcastle takeover, as well as other Saudi sporting buyouts such as golf tournaments, claiming it is an example of "Sportswashing" to distract from the kingdom's "appalling human rights record".
The PIF is looking to buy up Italian football champions Inter Milan next, according to multiple reports.
Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners have a stake in over ten football clubs worldwide as part of The City Football Group.