Football

EPL enacts rule to restrict owner-linked sponsors

English Premier League clubs on Monday passed a temporary rule to stop teams from agreeing sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners, a move that could restrict Newcastle United's new Saudi owners, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Financial Fair Play rules limit clubs' spending based on their revenue, including sponsorship deals, but arrangements involving companies closely linked to clubs' owners have come under scrutiny.

Newcastle and Manchester City, owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour, voted against the proposals but were defeated 18-2 at the meeting, the Guardian reported.

The EPL declined to comment on the report of the confidential meeting.

City, who have a sponsorship deal with the United Arab Emirates company Etihad Airways, have been facing an investigation from the EPL into their compliance with the league's financial rules. City have denied any wrongdoing.

The new rule will be in force for one month, while a working party looks at whether to make a permanent rule change to cover the issue.

The Guardian said that Newcastle's legal team had argued that the amendment was unlawful. Newcastle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, a consortium led by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and backed by minority parties PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media, bought the club.

The EPL, which came under pressure to block the deal last year, said it had received "legally binding" assurances that there was clear separation between PIF and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite PIF being chaired by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. - REUTERS

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