Premier League had to 'settle differences' so takeover could happen as Liverpool and FSG watch on

Newcastle United were purchased by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund in 2021.

Newcastle United's St James' Park. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty ImagesNewcastle United's St James' Park. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Newcastle United's St James' Park. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Premier League had to 'settle their differences' with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund so a takeover of Liverpool's rivals Newcastle United could be given the green light, it has been reported.

The Magpies were purchased by the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund for £300 million in October 2021. At the time, there was pressure on the sale not to go through because of perceived sportswashing due to the human rights record in Saudi. The Premier League was also given “legally binding guarantees” that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would not have control over the football club.

Earlier this year, The Athletic reported that the UK government feared that the possible failure of the Saudi takeover would be an 'immediate risk' to relations with the Middle Eastern country. Now the publication has suggested that Foreign Office officials held meetings with the Premier League before the takeover was announced.

Meanwhile, leaked emails seen by The Athletic show that 'Neil Crompton, UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, described being told by Chad Woodward, then the director of trade and investment for the UK government in Saudi Arabia' that the Premier League 'agreed to settle differences with the PIF so that their investment in Newcastle can go ahead'.

Since the PIF's takeover of Newcastle United, they have spent significant sums in the transfer market to sign the likes of Alexander Isak (£58 million), Sandro Tonali (£55 million), Anthony Gordon (£40 million) and Harvey Barnes ( £38 million). The Magpies finished fourth in the 2022-23 Premier League season, with Liverpool only managing fifth spot and missing out on Champions League qualification.