Boris Johnson mediated between the Premier League and Saudi Arabia to buy Newcastle

One of the great TV series that 2022 brought to the football world was the sale of Newcastle United. Finally, the English club was acquired with a fund Kingdom Saudi Arabia. Very controversial negotiations, which were sometimes seen on a tightrope and doubts occurred about the actions of the government Boris Johnson to mediate between Premier League and the Arabs.

Already last May there was talk of the participation of the government of Boris Johnson in buying Newcastle before Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund (PIF). Lots of speculation about who the former prime minister is United kingdom. This is due to some conversations that Johnson himself had with a “special counsel” from a country The Middle East.

Now there is news regarding this special series from the UK. The International Trade Department Published a series of documents following .’s Freedom of Information proposal openDemocracy. These papers confirm that a minister in the government of Boris Johnson promised the prime minister’s leaders to ensure a response from “the highest levels of the Saudi government.”

[La Premier y la doble moral: el ruso Abramovich se va, pero el saudí Bin Salman es aceptado]

The relevant minister is Lord Jerry Grimston, which at that time was responsible for the investment portfolio. Well, Grimstone ordered in August 2020 to Gary Hoffmanpresident at the time of the English Premier League, to tell him “a path to follow” so that the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia can permanently take over Newcastle.

Johnson and Grimstone’s hand

Who is Lord Jerry Grimstone? This might be a question some fans are asking at the moment. Well, he is a former banker who has strong connections at the highest levels both in Saudi Arabia and across Saudi Arabia Persian Gulf. Thanks to these connections, Boris Johnson captured him in March 2020 to attract investment from those regions to the UK.

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Lord Jerry Grimston, in file photo

Stefan Russo / PA Wire / dpa

With Boris Johnson’s approval, Lord Grimstone worked hard to help the Public Investment Fund buy Newcastle. He was actively involved in the whole process, but above all his personality was instrumental in working as a mediator until both Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund and the leaders of the Premier League found a solution.

repeated denials

Through the published documents, the active participation of the government of Boris Johnson, with Lord Jerry Grimston as mediator, in the purchase of the sovereign investment fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from Newcastle United has been confirmed. Something they have denied on more than one occasion since then Downing Street. Johnson once asserted that “the government was not at any time involved in takeover talks to sell Newcastle”.

media like guardian They noted that the spokesperson downplayed Lord Grimstone’s involvement: “He never tried to influence Mr Hoffman and the Premier League to agree to take over Newcastle.” The same spokesperson emphasized that the minister was only doing his part “to keep pace with the significant investments that could reach the UK”.

Newcastle fans celebrate the arrival of their new owners from Saudi Arabia

Newcastle fans celebrate the arrival of their new owners from Saudi Arabia


However, the published documents depict the position of the government of Boris Johnson. Four notes sent by Lord Grimstone to Neil CromptonThe British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, in August 2020, along with other unidentified Downing Street officials. These contacts also include messages via The WhatsApp And three phone calls.

In the first notes, Grimstone’s active participation was confirmed. He told Crompton he had a call with Hoffman that lasted up to 45 minutes. In an August 11 note, Johnson’s investment minister stressed that the exchange of ideas between the prime minister and the PIF had been established with his personal role in facilitating the process.

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In addition, these documents highlight that if these memos are published, the UK’s international relations could be seriously damaged. Although as described from EnglandLord Grimstone’s sole purpose was to approve the Saudi takeover of Newcastle.

[El Newcastle ensucia la Premier: los petrodólares no fichan futbolistas, pero sí provocan dimisiones]

With all that is known and also hidden so far, they are in the UK as shown guardian, that Saudi Arabia refused legal advice on state control of the Public Investment Fund, as well as its refusal to submit to the owner-manager test. In the background, sports piracy television rights owned by Qatarfrom the Saudi state.

“Gary said the PLA wants a solution and is very sensitive to the broader considerations surrounding all of this in terms of relations with Saudi Arabia. We agreed not to resume any process until there was a clear method on the table, because any further ‘failure’ would be very embarrassing. ‘,” Grimston wrote on August 22 of that year in light of this.

On the same day, but hours later, Lord Grimstone contacted Hoffman via WhatsApp: “I think it is for the good of all that we should try to end this matter as quickly as possible. As discussed, it would be beneficial for you and me to get an opinion from your QA about what you think it will take to achieve this. So I can confirm from the highest levels of the Saudi government if this is possible and we will all know what their situation is.”

Objective achieved

Lord Grimstone’s efforts in 2020 did not bear fruit at the time. Specifically because of Saudi Arabia’s refusal to submit to the owners and managers’ test. However, a year later, in October 2021, the PIF’s takeover of Newcastle United was finally confirmed because the PIF had given “legally binding guarantees that Saudi Arabia would not take control of Newcastle”.

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Richard MastersExecutive Director of the Prime Minister, confirmed in BBC “There are talks with the government, but no pressure is exerted,” he said. Something that contradicts what was stated by Gary Hoffman, who stated in a meeting with 20 clubs in the English Premier League, that the government had put pressure on the PIF’s takeover of Newcastle for its final approval.

premier league logo

premier league logo


For his part, Lord Grimstone emphasized that his role as ‘investment minister’ was to ‘keep up with the great investment that could come into the UK’. He stressed that “this was particularly important in investments like Newcastle, which were in the public domain and attracted a lot of public interest.”

“I have made it clear to Mr. Hoffman that my only role is to facilitate the exchange of ideas between the PIF and the People’s Liberation Army and that I have no intention of undermining the full autonomy of the People’s Liberation Army in this matter,” said Lord Grimstone. He added: “Of course, as I have done with any high-profile investment in the UK, I was concerned that the parties would resolve this matter among themselves in a polite and professional manner, regardless of the outcome of their discussions.”

Finally, Lord Jerry Grimston ended up resigning as investment minister in July, following the resignation of Boris Johnson. Yes, emphasizing that thanks to their work the UK has secured £50 billion in investments, including here 10,000 million for agreements with sovereign wealth funds alike. Abu Dhabi Like from Qatar.

Amber Cross

"Music buff. Unapologetic problem solver. Organizer. Social media maven. Web nerd. Incurable reader."

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