Saudi Arabia opens club doors to private owners and overseas expansion

November 28 – Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers has approved plans to privatise its football clubs after consultancy firm Deloitte conducted a year-long feasibility study.

Under the decision, only clubs playing in the top Saudi Premier League division will be applicable for privatisation and conversion into companies, according to Saudi Press Agency.

Most of the clubs in the league are currently government owned. The General Authority of Sports will grant licenses to these companies with certain terms and conditions.

According to some reports, several English clubs may be targeted for takeover as a result of the move by the Saudis to privatise their own professional league. Last week it was reported that a Saudi group wanted to buy League One title-chasers Bolton Wanderers.

One Saudi investor was quoted by London’s Evening Standard newspaper as saying: “I know of two or three clubs around London that are being looked at by Saudi consortiums and individuals who want to tie them in with clubs at home. It would be a perfect fit.”

Saudi Arabia has for the past two years played the final of its cup competition in England, the most recently being earlier this year at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.

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