Staveley deal for Newcastle FC, backed by Gulf investors, possible this year

Updated 15 December 2017

Staveley deal for Newcastle FC, backed by Gulf investors, possible this year

DUBAI: Amanda Staveley, the financial entrepreneur who made her name in Middle East investment, could use Arabian Gulf money in a possible takeover of English football club Newcastle United.
She is said to be interested in the club in the northeast of England, believing it shares similar characteristics to Manchester City, which she helped Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the UAE buy in 2008 for £210 million ($278 million), and which has since risen to the top of the English Premier League (EPL), helped by a big injection of Gulf cash.
A source close to Staveley told Arab News that her interest in Newcastle was at an early stage, that there had been no talks yet with Mike Ashley, the current owner, and that she was still interested in other clubs in the EPL.
But it was also indicated that a deal could be done relatively quickly, if serious talks got underway, possibly by the end of the year.
Staveley attended a football match in Newcastle last weekend as the guest of Rafa Benitez, the manager, signaling her interest in a possible takeover of the club. Ashley has said on several occasions that he would be a willing seller of Newcastle, which he has owned since 2007, at the right price.
Like Manchester City, Newcastle is a traditionally strong footballing brand in a city that is enthusiastic about the game.
Unlike the City deal, however, in which Staveley acted as an adviser to Sheikh Mansour, she would be the principal investor in Newcastle, via her firm PCP Capital Partners. Any bid would be backed by funds from her extensive network of contacts in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
Globally PCP has $37 billion of assets under management, with Staveley acting for big Gulf investors in London real estate and other assets, as well as for wealthy Chinese investors.
Any discussions between Staveley and Ashley are likely to focus on price. Ashley is said to have spent £300 million on the club in the 10 years he has owned it, so any deal would probably have to start at that price.
Staveley was earlier this year linked with a much bigger deal for Liverpool Football Club, where she was marginally involved in an abortive takeover by Dubai investors in 2007. She was also said to be interested in doing a deal with Tottenham Hotspur, the north London club.
She told Arab News in June that she saw English football as an “attractive investment,” but is believed to have grown interested in Newcastle since then. A source said that there were five clubs that she was analyzing from a financial point of view.
The identity of Middle East investors to help fund Staveley’s possible bid is not yet known. She has extensive connections in the UAE and Qatar, and has also been looking increasingly at Saudi Arabia, where she said she saw big investment opportunities on the back of the Vision 2030 transformation strategy.
English football, and the EPL in particular, has become increasingly attractive to global investors thanks to the billions of dollars paid to clubs for broadcasting rights, which in turn leads to higher worldwide TV audiences and advertising sponsorships.

The original version of this article stated that St. James’ Park, Newcastle FC’s home stadium, is owned by the football club. This is not the case and the reference has been removed.

 


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.