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Premier League clubs have rejected the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) takeover of Newcastle and are calling for an emergency meeting next week. They believe the deal was only approved after top flight chiefs received legally binding assurances that Saudi state would not have control over the club.
Amnesty International is calling on the Premier League to reevaluate their assurances regarding Newcastle ownership after a court document published this week suggests there may be closer ties between Saudi state and Public Investment Fund (PIF), who own 80 per cent of the club. This document appears to contradict an assurance given by the league in October 2021 that PIF would exist as its own separate entity from Saudi government control.
Peter Frankental, Amnesty International's UK economic affairs director, stressed the need to revisit the assurances given by Newcastle and its new owners regarding the non-involvement of Saudi authorities in their deal. This is especially pertinent in light of sportswashing - when governments or other entities with poor human rights records attempt to improve their public image by investing in sports teams or events.
The Premier League has a responsibility to ensure new club owners are fit and proper people, and their clubs are not being used for purposes that violate human rights law. This is especially relevant given increasing evidence that some clubs are being run by state-backed entities; thus, due diligence on new owners and their human rights records should be carried out by the Premier League.
However, this week's court document has raised further doubts about the level of separation between PIF and its chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan - who also serves as a minister in Saudi government. In response to a lawsuit filed against PGA Tour and LIV Golf by American golfers who claim they have been banned from competing in America, this document states both PIF and Al-Rumayyan are'sovereign instrumentalities' rather than ordinary third parties subject to basic discovery relevance standards.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters had previously stated last year that the league would remove PIF as owners of Newcastle if it was found to have broken its promises. This statement followed the publication of a documentary showing PIF and its governor Al-Rumayyan attending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's opening match of the World Cup with Saudi Arabia's national team.
Newcastle United's takeover by a Saudi state-backed consortium has caused anger among Premier League clubs. After Mike Ashley accepted their PS300 million offer, Newcastle fans took to social media to voice their displeasure with their club's links to Saudi Arabia.
Human rights groups have expressed concerns that the sale is an attempt to "sport wash" Saudi Arabia's record of extrajudicial murder, jailing women's rights activists and bombing campaign in neighboring Yemen. As a result, human rights watchdogs have demanded the Premier League tighten up its ownership regulations and review assurances provided by PIF (owner of 80 per cent stake), regarding ownership assurances provided.
Premier League officials were concerned that Saudi state would gain control of the club if it was taken over by PIF. They feared Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's PIF, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, could influence decisions made at the club through its governing board.
Though they have never officially denied involvement, they have provided no explanation for why they chose to pursue takeover of the club. According to The Premier League, legally-binding assurances had been obtained that Saudi Arabia would not own the team after the takeover.
Reports indicate the PIF wasn't the first investment group to consider Newcastle, with other teams also being considered. Ultimately, however, the fund won out due to its assurance of independence from Saudi government ownership of the PIF.
Amnesty International has called on the Premier League to review assurances given by PIF and create clear guidelines on how football clubs should operate. Furthermore, they urged the league to amend its own regulations, adding human rights questions into owners' and directors' tests.
Amnesty UK's chief executive, Sacha Deshmukh, issued a statement noting her concern with the PIF-led consortium's involvement in sportswashing activities and their attempts to buy other clubs across Europe.
Amnesty International has also called on the Premier League to review its ownership rules and advocate for club fans abroad. For instance, they have stated that divorced people in Saudi Arabia should not be able to leave their country of residence with their children without approval from their ex-spouse.
Premier League clubs have demanded talks over Newcastle ownership following the shocking PS300m takeover by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Public Investment Fund (PIF). Reports indicate Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton were among those'most indignant' at this deal.
As far as I am aware, this is the first time a major English club has been owned by an external power. Furthermore, it represents an especially egregious example of sportswashing - the practice of exploiting sporting events to boost a nation's reputation and benefit its business interests.
Newcastle fans and the wider football community are outraged by this development. A variety of groups, including LGBTQ+ activist organizations and human rights organizations, have spoken out against it.
Some are dismayed that Newcastle United's owners didn't follow the formal processes required by the Premier League to guarantee they aren't connected with a human rights abuser. Furthermore, some worry that the PIF will have influence over decisions at Newcastle which could determine its fate.
They have also questioned whether the takeover will benefit Newcastle fans. The consortium plans on increasing local employment by investing in schools, hospitals and sports infrastructure.
Newcastle United have taken control of a new network, which means they can broadcast games live. This represents an enormous milestone in their development as it will give the team more exposure and bring in additional revenue from advertising.
No matter the support the club has received so far, some angry Newcastle fans remain doubtful that this is the right move for them. It's not that they don't want change; it's simply that they aren't sure that a new owner can bring about improvement.
They may be feeling defeated, but they still possess the capacity to use their collective strength to stand up to even the biggest names in sports. All that needs to happen is finding the courage to do so - and knowing that millions of supporters around the world will be rooting them on!
Last week, Premier League clubs were incensed to learn that a Saudi-led consortium had been granted ownership of Newcastle United, prompting human rights groups and supporters to ask why they weren't included. Despite concerns raised over the deal - including concerns it could damage the league's reputation - the league claims they received legally binding assurances from Saudi Arabian state-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) that PIF will not control Newcastle United and are thus free to proceed with its plans.
However, many have questioned if this is the best move for Newcastle given Saudi Arabia's record on human rights and its treatment of women and Shia Muslims. Their abuse of power and brutality have resulted in mass beheadings, jailings of political activists and lack of freedom for women.
In addition to human rights concerns, many fans felt Ashley had misled them during discussions of a potential takeover. He claimed he was confident in winning a PS350 million bid; yet Amanda Staveley and her private equity company PCP Capital Partners were the only ones backing him.
She reportedly increased the offer after an initial PS250m bid by a Chinese investor was rejected. Rumors swirled that she couldn't raise enough funds, but her team insisted she could increase it if she could find the right people to do so.
Supporters' groups have called for the club to be taken over by another firm due to Staveley and her group having no prior experience in either business or football. They claim she was inexperienced and that her bid would have been a waste of money.
Meanwhile, Magpie Group and Toon For Change have issued a joint statement pressing Ashley to sell the club to someone new. They argue that such a deal "could cause serious reputational damage to both Newcastle United and the Premier League".
Some have criticized Staveley for her involvement in the takeover, but it appears unlikely she will emerge unscathed. The Saudi state's Public Investment Fund owns 80% of Newcastle United's shares - representing a substantial chunk of their share capital - and it is widely anticipated that they will use their financial power to force a sale to an outside buyer. Although the Premier League had previously blocked such deals, it appears likely that PIF will prevail and leave St James' Park with a new owner for the foreseeable future.
If you've ever been searching for a rental property, chances are you've experienced being outbid by renters who offer more than the advertised price of the property. This practice of'rent bidding' is illegal in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.
This week, new rules were implemented that prohibit agents from encouraging applicants to bid above a listed rental amount. These measures aim to protect prospective tenants from being coerced into accepting offers from greedy landlords.
Bidding wars occur when multiple buyers compete for the same property to see who can offer the highest price. Although bidding wars can be exciting and exciting for buyers who want to get the best deal on their dream home, they also present challenges.
Real estate agents are reporting that many buyers are faced with bidding wars due to a shortage of homes for sale and high demand.
In certain circumstances, bidding wars can be advantageous for sellers. They may get a higher price for their home and may be able to waive certain terms that would have prevented them from selling otherwise.
Though bidding wars are commonplace in real estate, they can be intimidating for home buyers who don't know how to approach it or how to make their offers stand out. If you're in the market for a new home and worried about getting into a bidding war, here are some tips on staying on top of things:
Before making an offer on a home, make sure all of your ducks are in order. This includes being preapproved for mortgage financing, having cash on hand to pay for the house, and crafting an effective offer with no contingencies.
Consider including an escalation clause in your offer, which allows you to increase your initial bid up to a specific amount if another offer comes in that is higher than yours. This strategy allows you to keep costs low while still giving yourself the best chance at snagging the home.
However, if you opt to include an escalation clause in your offer, be sure not to do this too frequently. Doing so could result in overly aggressive bidding and ultimately result in paying more than the home is worth.
Landlords typically have an edge when renting real estate. They understand that a property's worth only goes so far, so they set their rents accordingly - thus encouraging qualified applicants to apply and making a profit off the rental fee.
Unfortunately, bidding wars can often lead to higher prices for consumers than anticipated - especially when there is a bidding war underway. Studies have demonstrated that in auctions, winning bidders tend to overpay if motivated to do so, making it difficult to find an acceptable price in a bid.
In an effort to prevent this from occurring, peak housing bodies have called for nationally consistent rental laws. Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania have already banned rent bidding - the practice of advertising a rental property with various prices or without a fixed cost - but New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and South Australia still lack such rules.
Landlords may not intentionally break the law, but rather due to a desperate search for tenants in an oversupplied rental market. With few properties available for renters to choose from, landlords may feel compelled to compete and raise their prices in order to secure business.
As a result, some tenants wind up paying more for their apartment than it's worth. Some re-mortgage their homes or borrow more money than they should while being forced into lower quality accommodation.
Despite these difficulties, some renters manage to negotiate good deals. The best way to protect yourself against being taken advantage of by a landlord is by being knowledgeable about the local real estate market.
If you're considering moving to an area that has seen extensive development, check if any newer apartments have been constructed since your last inspection. This will give you an indication of the average price per place in that location and help determine how much you should be willing to pay.
Real estate agents have the authority to encourage renters to offer more money than the advertised rental price in order to secure a property. This practice, known as solicited rental bidding, violates both the Property and Stock Agents Regulation 2014 and Real Estate Institute of NSW Code of Practice.
Australian Consumer Law requires agents to act honestly and fairly in all negotiations and transactions. Violations of this provision can result in fines of up to $5500 for individuals or $11,000 for corporations.
The New South Wales government is looking to ban so-called "rental auction" bidding, where estate agents encourage potential tenants to bid above the listed rent for a property. Premier Dominic Perrottet said it was an "excessive" tactic which drove up prices and required prospective tenants to "go beyond their means" in order to secure a rental.
Despite these precautions, some unscrupulous real estate agents continue to flout the rules. Last month, the Real Estate Institute of NSW warned that agents were "pushing up prices" on properties.
Due to this shortage, affordable housing has become scarce. Most properties don't list a fixed price, allowing people to offer more than what they think they can afford in order to secure a place.
According to a report released by the Real Estate Institute of NSW, government can help alleviate rental crisis by encouraging investment in more genuinely affordable housing. This would bring down cost of renting, which is already an important factor influencing affordability in Sydney.
However, this won't solve the underlying issue of a lack of affordable housing. This is an issue too big for government alone to solve on its own; cooperation from private sector must also be involved for real progress to be made.
It is time to address this problem by building more affordable housing - not just in the private market. By creating more social and community housing, there will be less pressure on the market, forcing private landlords to do a better job providing quality rentals at reasonable prices.
Bidding wars can be an emotionally charged and time-consuming experience for both prospective renters and property managers, potentially leading to renters being priced out of the rental market.
Despite the immense efforts of many advocates and policymakers to combat this practice, it remains one of Australia's biggest problems when it comes to rental accommodation. Not only does it negatively impact on renter quality of choice, but it is also at the root cause of many issues related to Australia's rental crisis as a whole.
Bidding wars are especially prevalent in tight housing markets. Unfortunately, without strong protections in place, it can be very difficult to prevent them from occurring.
These should include a ban on landlords and agents encouraging or soliciting offers above the advertised price, as well as notification requirements for other applicants when an offer is made. Some jurisdictions, such as Victoria and Queensland, already have such requirements in place; however, there remain doubts about how effectively these safeguards work.
It can be incredibly distressing for applicants to feel pressured into making offers above the advertised price, especially if they are already struggling financially. In tight markets, applicants may feel they have no other choice but to bid above market value in an effort to secure a home.
The NSW government has recently passed a law to prevent real estate agents from engaging in rent bidding. This new regulation, set to go into effect on Saturday 17 December, will prevent this practice of driving up rent prices.
It is essential to be aware that there will still be some exceptions to the ban. Agents may still encourage and solicit bids from applicants if their proposal is unsolicited.
However, the new rules are a positive step in the right direction. They provide an effective solution to bidding wars in a tight rental market and represent a great first step towards safeguarding renters' rights in NSW.