By Mukwuzi Joseph
Premier League clubs have voted to block new Newcastle sponsorship deals with companies linked to the club’s new owners.
The decision, taken at an emergency Premier League meeting held yesterday, will ban so-called related-party transactions for an initial period of one-month and applies to all 20 Premier League clubs.
According to the Guardian, 18 clubs voted for the ban with Manchester City abstaining and Newcastle United’s chief executive Lee Charnley voting against. The clubs are reportedly keen to make the rule permanent.
Premier League clubs fear that with 80% of the club owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – valued at £250 billion – the club will see quick benefit from inflated sponsorships that enable them to beat financial fair play (FFP) rules and ultimately give them an unfair competitive advantage in the player markets
Premier League FFP rules allow clubs to make maximum losses of £105 million over a rolling three-year period.
Newcastle United believe that the amendment is unlawful. The Premier League has set up a working group to examine proposals to extend the rule. Newcastle United have been invited to be part of it.
Related-party sponsorships of middle eastern owned clubs have become common in the top flight of the European club game with both UAE-owned Manchester City and Qatar-owned Paris St German having come FFP scrutiny.
Manchester City’s stadium, training complex and main shirt sponsorhips are all held by Abu Dhabi airline Etihad. UEFA gave Manchester City a two-year ban for breaching FFP rules, but that ban was overturned on appeal at CAS after the sports court found no evidence around the biggest charge of over-inflating the value of the sponsorship.
The Premier League is still investigating Man City for breaches of its own FFP rules.