Newcastle has signed a multi-year shirt sponsorship deal with a Saudi events company amid new Premier League rules on owner-related commercial deals.
British media reported Newcastle’s sponsorship by events management firm Sela announced Friday is worth 25 million pounds ($31.5 million) annually on a multi-year deal.
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“The agreement between the two rapidly growing organisations will see them uniting at an exciting stage in their respective journeys, with Sela – the driving force behind a wide range of spectacular events, iconic destinations and attractions in the Middle East – becoming Newcastle United’s front of shirt partner,” the club said in a statement posted on its website.
Sela is backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), the state’s sovereign wealth fund, which also holds an 80 percent stake in Newcastle.
A temporary ban on owner-related sponsorship deals was put in place after the Saudi-led takeover of the Magpies in October 2021.
That was lifted two months later but such deals must be deemed to represent fair market value.
Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City’s rise to the top of English football has been aided by sponsorship deals with a series of related parties in the Gulf.
City are facing 115 Premier League charges for allegedly breaching financial rules between 2009 and 2018.
Owners of other Premier League clubs have voiced concerns that Newcastle could circumvent financial fair play rules by using Saudi-backed sponsors.
Newcastle CEO Darren Eales said the partnership followed “a highly competitive commercial process”.
“We believe we have found the perfect front-of-shirt partner to support us in reaching our objectives on and off the pitch,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senior Vice President at Sela Ibrahim Mohtaseb said the partnership with Newcastle was the Saudi-based company being part of the “next chapter for the club”.
“It’s about us supporting the men’s, women’s and Academy teams. And it’s about bringing to life world-class experiences, which is at the heart of what we do as a company,” he said according to the statement on Newcastle’s website.
Newcastle will be back in the Champions League next season for the first time in 20 years after finishing fourth in the Premier League in their first full season under their new ownership group.
The latest PIF investment in football follows what was effectively the nationalisation this week of four top Saudi clubs including those of Cristiano Ronaldo and new recruit Karim Benzema.