Newcastle free to sign Ruben Neves after Premier League clubs vote against Saudi Arabia restrictions

Newcastle free to sign Ruben Neves after Premier League clubs vote against Saudi Arabia restrictions

The club, whose £305million Saudi Arabian-backed takeover was completed in October 2021, have been linked with a move for Ruben Neves from Al Hilal. Sources close to Newcastle played down any interest ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, but the vote is undoubtedly a major boost as the club plans reinforcements after a spate of injuries and Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban from football for breaching betting rules.

The loan ban was proposed as a temporary measure until a concrete solution could be agreed before the summer transfer window. Associated-party transaction rules already apply to some degree in the transfer of players on permanent deals. Newcastle had to demonstrate to the Premier League they obtained fair market value when selling the French winger Allan Saint-Maximin to Al-Ahli, another PIF club, in the summer.

The Premier League defines a related party as having “material influence over the club or [being] an entity in the same group of companies as the club”.

The competition initially started moving to close all available loopholes two years ago to stop the Saudi regime at Newcastle buying success like their City-owner counterparts did more than a decade ago.

Calls for a clampdown on owner-funded sponsors initially came after allegations were made during the Football Leaks scandal about Roberto Mancini at Manchester City. Mancini, who led City to their first Premier League title in 2012, was allegedly paid on top of his club salary as a consultant with Al Jazira Sports and Cultural Club, which is controlled by City’s Abu Dhabi owners.

As executives met at a London hotel just days after Everton were hit by a 10-point deduction for spending breaches, other rifts emerged between the clubs over the New Deal, a £130 million-a-year rescue package for the rest of the football pyramid.

As detailed by Telegraph Sport on Sunday, there remains no agreement over how much the so-called ‘Big Six’ contribute towards the £130m-a-year New Deal compared with smaller Premier League clubs. There is also some disagreement over spending limits on clubs immediately after relegation to the Championship.

The Everton saga was not discussed at the meeting, but it also emerged on Tuesday the same commission that punished the club on Friday is now due to hear imminent applications from rival clubs for damages against the Merseyside team.

Burnley, Leicester City, Leeds United, Southampton and Nottingham Forest have all expressed prior interest in legal action and have 28 days to lodge a claim. David Phillips KC, Judge Alan Greenwood and Nick Igoe, the former financial director at West Ham United, will then decide whether the clubs are entitled to payouts estimated at up to £200m combined.

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