Why the world’s media is alarmed at what the Premier League is now allowing

By Tony Attwood

The general consensus is simple: Newcastle United is now the the richest football club in the world, Of course it is not their own money earned by having a big stadium packed with fans (as per Arsenal’s 1930s model) or a world-wide marketing system (Manchester United’s approach in the 1960s).  No instead they have done it by being funded by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, (the Public Investment Fund), but not the Saudi Arabian state.

Now you’ve got to admit that is pretty nifty, and clubs around Europe must surely be pondering, “how come we never thought of that?”  The country, which has no democracy, has an absolute ruler who is chair of the sovereign wealth fund, says and assures the Premier League, the state will have no control over the funding of Newcastle, because the ruler of the country who also controls the sovereign wealth fund says so.  Did I lose you in that one?  Sorry.

You know, I tend not to mention it much, because a lot of people think I’m an absolute idiot, but I do have a research degree from a rather prestigious university, and fellowship, and a couple of other qualifications and things which are supposed to suggest I am quite bright.  But still I don’t get that.  But it must be way above my intellect level because the Premier League says it’s so.   Indeed, it is what some readers have often said: those guys must be a lot, lot brighter than me.

And all that stuff we’ve been publishing about Saudi Arabia blocking BeIN Sports TV channels, and running their own pirated BeOut Sports channel.  That must be nonsense.

That article, linked above, about a legal case, was headlined “Manchester City take on the whole of European football” – an issue that has rather been lost. And it ended “As a result of this case, something has to give.”

But that bit we got right.  Something gave – the Premier League realised the tangle it had got itself into with the Man City case and now has had to find a way out.  So it gave permission to Newcastle to go ahead.  It was easier than worrying about the chemical castration of gay people.  Or Jamal Khashoggi.  Or Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen

No, as the New York Times put it, “the Premier League just needed to be reassured that the Mohammed bin Salman who runs Saudi Arabia would not interfere with the decisions of the Mohammed bin Salman who runs Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund.”

I’m glad the English newspapers have understood that too, because if they didn’t, they would have to be making a lot more fuss than they are.  Which is not very much.

Thus Mohammed bin Salman has not promised not to be engaged with the activities of Newcastle United.  That was Mohammed bin Salman.   Because Newcastle is not owned by Saudi Arabia, just as Manchester City is not owned by Abu Dhabi and PSG is not owned by Qatar.

Also some Newcastle fans are quite free to wave the Saudi Arabian flag (as they have been doing) which has on it the inscription, “to know and believe without suspicion, as if witnessed,” and they are certainly doing that.

And it is interesting (to me if no one else) that as the New York Times points out, “it is now possible to write a sentence in which the murder of a journalist and Newcastle United both feature.”  Whatever some people think of the Kroenke family, and whatever my personal dismay at the way the Hill-Wood family acted in kicking Sir Henry Norris out of Arsenal in 1927, I don’t think Arsenal have ever got quite into this bit of muddle.

So where has football got to?  Manchester City is owned by Sheikh Mansour, but run by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan according to Josimar.   You may choose to reject that view – and you might not want to read that article straight after a meal, as it is rather disturbing.

Rather more amusingly Reuters have pictures of a few Newcastle fans holding up signs saying “Corrupt Premier League”.  I think they might want to read one or two of the articles cited here before going much further with that line of argument.

In essence while some very rich people use football in order to make money from the economic activities that exist around it, others use football to try and deflect from their alleged activities.

Many Arsenal fans don’t like the Kroenke family because they don’t spend enough money on Arsenal transfers (although we didn’t do too badly this past summer).   But I am not sure the Kroenke family has ever been accused of what a lot of media outlets are accusing Saudi Arabia of.

9 Replies to “Why the world’s media is alarmed at what the Premier League is now allowing”

  1. After reading your salty rambling, It’s clear that there a lot of people who are a ‘lot,lot brighter’ than you.

  2. Whatever money Arsenal “earned” was courtesy of friends in high places at the Football League (forerunner to the Premier League) It is well known that they had no right to be counted among first division clubs but the aforementioned “friends” made sure they were promoted, even though they never earned a promotion place. Unprecedented favouritism shown to this club, and not for the last time.

    United had no such “marketing system” whatsoever in the 60s but sheer numbers of fans regularly packing out Old Trafford like no other club since the 50s and theeafter, to this day. Yes, they embraced shirt sponsorship, like every other club from the 80s onward. The only marketing that went on in the 60s was chairman Louis Edwards using the club the promote his chain of butcher shops and using the club as a ready customer for his meat products.

    You’ll be telling us Arsenal didn’t have the worst disciplinary record in the 90s and they “dominated” the PL with a grand total of two titles to Uniteds five. But carry on….

  3. Halftime at Borehamwood and we are two nil up adainst Everton and look to have shaken off the disappointment of our defeat to. Barcelona in midweek. Katie McCabe with another brilliant lobbed volley from outside the left hand side of the 18 yard box. The second Wasa header by Lotte Wubben-Moy-Moy following a corner from the right hand side.

  4. Oh…. and Arteta is doing a grand job, floundering in 10th position whilst Ole “struggled” with 2nd place to the Arab nation and handily placed to challenge again this season, along with competing in the champions league.

  5. Full Time at Borehamwood and we won them nil, the last goal an absolute belter from FridaMaanum from all of 30 yards into the top left corner.

    We are the only team with maximum points in the WSL and have three points clear over our nearest rivals.

    Next up our first home Champions League match against. TSG Hoffenheim on Thursday evening at Borehamwood. Advance tickets still hanen’t been announced on the website but must be available tomorrow or Tuesday.

  6. I think the PL governance people lack understanding of the meaning of “conflict of interest”, and how it could apply to them, but this deal has taken it to a ridiculous extreme.

    Until last week, my understanding of “multi-functional devices” was that they are able to print, copy and scan, but it seems that investment funds also fit that description.

  7. One of the obvious ways of judging the brightness of a person is to look at what the person writes. In the case of yourself Mr Campbell, what we have is a short insult with no evidence or background or anything else. Just an assertion. Now, let us consider carefully. What sort of person writes something like that

  8. You see Red R, if you had read anything in here before making your pronouncements you would have looked a lot less silly. But you are really giving us some great laughs. I would point you toward the discussion on last season and this but I am not sure you could deal with the stats

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