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November 29, 2023
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Sport: Newcastle United clear to loan Saudi Pro League players after vote

Newcastle will be permitted to sign players on loan from the Saudi Pro League in January after a vote by Premier League clubs on a temporary ban on related-party loans did not receive the support required to be introduced.

Thirteen clubs voted in favour of the temporary block on loan moves between teams under the same ownership.

That was one short of the total number needed for it to be implemented.

The Premier League was understood to be in favour of introducing the ban.

It means Newcastle United, for instance, could sign players from clubs also owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Newcastle, whose £305m Saudi Arabian-backed takeover was completed in October 2021, have been linked with a move for former Wolves captain Ruben Neves from Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.

The ban was proposed as a temporary measure until a concrete solution could be agreed before the summer transfer window.

It was only set to apply to incoming loans, not outgoing.

PIF, which provided 80% of funds for the Newcastle takeover, took over four of the leading Saudi Arabian clubs in June – Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad.

Asked in November whether he would consider signing players from Saudi Arabia if allowed, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said he was “open to signing anyone if they are good enough”.

Other high-profile former Premier League players currently at PIF-owned clubs include Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr), Roberto Firmino (Al-Ahli), Sadio Mane (Al-Nassr) and Riyad Mahrez (Al-Ahli).

But it is a a potential January move for 26-year-old Neves – who joined Al-Hilal for £47m in June – which could help the Magpies fill the midfield gap created by Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban for breaching betting rules.

PIF, which is governed by Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, have assets of £250bn – making Newcastle one of the richest clubs in the world.

Panel that docked Everton points will decide compensation claims

The same independent panel that docked Everton 10 points for breaching Premier League financial rules will decide on any financial compensation claims from rival clubs.

Leeds and Leicester – who were relegated to the Championship last season – along with Burnley – who were relegated in 2022 before returning – are weighing up whether to press ahead with a claim against the Toffees.

Had the 10 point deduction been applied in 2021/22, Burnley would have stayed up, as would Leicester last season if it had counted then. Leeds would have finished a place higher, but would still have gone down.

It has been reported Everton could potentially face claims for tens of millions of pounds.

The clubs have 28 days from the date of the ruling to decide.

If they do, barrister David Phillips KC, High Court judge His Honour Alan Greenwood, and chartered accountant Nick Igoe (former West Ham finance director), would hear their arguments.

In last week’s ruling, Phillips KC referenced applications for financial compensation from a number of clubs, saying he was “satisfied” that they had “potential claims”.

Everton have 14 days from the ruling to lodge an appeal.



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