PL Clubs vote to allow Saudi loan deals

PL Clubs vote to allow Saudi loan deals

A motion to ban loan deals between related clubs, has been defeated by 13 votes to 7, opening up the possibility of Saudi owned clubs (such as Newcastle), loaning players from the Saudi Pro League.

Premier League clubs met on Tuesday to discuss a range of issues, but the most important - and headline grabbing - was a motion to ban loan deals between related clubs.

What is a related club?

The term 'related club' means any clubs who share the same ownership.  Whilst it is illegal for teams within the same country to be owned by the same person/group/organisation, it is quite common for organisations to own more than one club in different countries.  A prime example of this is City Football group, who own Manchester City in England, Troyes in France, New York City FC in the USA and many other clubs across the globe.

Ordinarily, such football groups feature one main club, with smaller 'feeder' clubs being used to help young players gain first team experience, help with scouting and knowledge of new players in a particular area, and help foster new commercial opportunities.

However, with the Saudi Arabian Government funding a massive spending spree by the Saudi Pro League in the summer, as well as owning Newcastle United, and a share in Sheffield United, the possibility for transfers and loans between such related clubs has become ever more likely.

It is this situation that has sparked anger and concern amongst a number of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool FC.  To this end, a motion was put forward to temporarily ban loan deals between related clubs, until a more permanent solution could be found in the summer.

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Motion defeated thirteen votes to seven

For any new motion to pass into law, atleast 14 clubs must vote for the motion, so despite winning the vote, 13 to 7, the motion will not become law.  The seven clubs that voted against the motion were : 

Newcastle United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Everton, Wolves, Nottingham Forest

Six of the seven sides are part of a multi-club ownership model, so it is of little surprise that they voted against the motion.  Wolves are the only club not part of a multi-club ownership model, so their vote is a little harder to understand.  There was also a train of thought that Everton, despit their ownership, might vote with the majority, to try to gain some cheap support, following their recent 10 point deduction from the Premier League.   Obviously that did not happen.

Risk to sporting integrity

With the motion now defeated, it raises the possibility of players who recently joined clubs in Saudi Arabia, making a quick return to the Premier League in the January transfer window.  One such player is Ruben Neves, who left Wolves for Al-Hilal in the summer, for £44million.  Newcastle United have been linked with the midfielder, as they look to bolster a squad that has been decimated by injuries.  The problem with such deals, is whether they will represent true market value.  After paying £44million for the player in the summer, any club looking to sign Neves on loan, would expect to have to pay upwards of £5-£10 million to secure his services.  But if Newcastle were to sign Neves, it is likely they would only pay a nominal fee, which would not represent the players true market value.  There is also concern over who would pay the players wages.  If Al-Hilal continue to pay Neves wages, instead of Newcastle, it will help them meet financial fair play rules, and free up money for additional signing.

Of course, all of this is just conjecture at the moment, but with so many transfer deals under scrutiny (for illegal payments) at the moment, it is not that far fetched to believe that Saudi Arabia, and their PIF owned clubs, would not look to take advantage of any financial loopholes that exist.

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Peter Farrell :: LFC - Back On Our Perch Author and Editor

Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
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Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.

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