Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan has revealed they were 30 per cent stake in Manchester United a year before they bought Newcastle United.
The Saudi investors turned down the opportunity to buy 30 per cent stake of Manchester United for £700million because it didn’t come with any managing control.
PIF went on to purchase a complete controlling stake in Newcastle for £305million.
In an interview in Saudi Arabia, Al-Rumayyan said: “Football, of course, is one of the most important sports there is. Whether domestically or abroad.
“It’s the No 1 sport in the world. And why the Premier League? Because it’s the best league in the world. No other league competes with it.
“There are 20 teams, three are relegated and three are promoted. The advantage of the Premier League is that any of the 20 teams can beat the best team in the league.
“When we looked at it, we looked at it from a financial perspective. By the way, it wasn’t the first offer we got regarding a football team. We looked in Italy, France and the UK as well.
“For example, in the UK there was a team that approached us on the basis that we take 30 per cent of the ownership, and we don’t interfere at all in terms of managing the club, for £700m.”
Al-Rumayyan went on to say that Newcastle offered far better value because PIF had more control over the club.
He added: “Then we bought Newcastle, who offered us 100 per cent of the ownership.
“But Amanda Staveley and her husband who got us the opportunity told us, ‘We like it so much, we would like to be with you.’ That was perfect.
“Then came the Reuben family who are one of the biggest property investors, saying that, ‘We would like to come with you’, and these are one of the biggest investors in Newcastle.
“I said, ‘Perfect! Tell them to come’. So now they have a skin in the game.
“We bought the whole team for £305m, instead of having only 30 per cent in another team for £700m.”