The Premier League are not expected to alter their Owners & Directors Test to prevent any possible investment from Saudi Arabia in either Manchester United or Liverpool.
With the two American-owned clubs now up for sale, investors from Saudi Arabia have been tipped to lodge offers and the country’s sports minister recently confessed he would like to see the nation get involved in at least one of United or Liverpool.
Any bids would be hugely controversial if the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s takeover of Newcastle United is anything to compare to.
When the PIF concluded their takeover of Newcastle in 2021, they faced a lengthy legal process to prove the group, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had no ties to the country’s government. The Premier League were eventually satisfied no such link existed and sanctioned the sale.
Since then, questions have been asked of the Premier League over their willingness to sanction a sale to Saudi investors, with the country’s poor human rights record leaving many demanding that they be banned from any future takeover bids.
However, The Telegraph state that there are no plans to ban Saudi Arabians from getting involved in Premier League clubs.
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The final terms of the new Owners & Directors Test are yet to be finalised but they are not expected to include any exclusions on the basis of the political or human rights’ record of their country of origin.
The only restrictions would be the requirement to prove that any investors were independent from the government, as the PIF did successfully.
Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal has since stressed that the PIF are unlikely to pursue United or Liverpool but urged other individuals from the country to get involved.
“The PIF just invested in Newcastle and I think we are focusing as a PIF on that,” he told The Times. “If there is a private investor that wants to come in, why not?”