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English Premier League approves Saudi buyout of Newcastle United

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By Euronews, AFP & AP
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A general view of Newcastle United's stadium ahead of news of the latest developments in the sale of the club to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund for $408m
A general view of Newcastle United's stadium ahead of news of the latest developments in the sale of the club to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund for $408m   -   Copyright  Scott Heppell / AP

England's Premier League on Thursday approved the controversial buyout of Newcastle United by a Saudi Arabian investment fund.

In a statement, it said: "The club is sold to the consortium with immediate effect."

It added that the Premier League has "received legally binding guarantees that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control the Newcastle United club".

The $409 million take-over by the Saudi Public Investment Fund collapsed last year over concerns about how much control the kingdom’s leadership would have in the running of Newcastle.

Questions had been raised about the purchase of the club due to concerns over Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

But the news will likely be welcomed by Newcastle United fans, who have suffered for 14 years under the ownership of businessman Mike Ashley.

“We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football," PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said.

“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.”

The PIF will be the majority partner alongside wealthy British-based Reuben brothers and financier Amanda Staveley.