The Saudi Arabian government just made a big footballing decision that could bring Saudi Arabian money into English football.
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs has recommended that the football clubs located in the country be privatized. Investors in the country will now able to buy the local clubs. And because of that, Saudi Arabian investors will be looking to buy English clubs so that they can partner with their Saudi Arabian clubs. This will set up a similar relationship to how Manchester City works with New York City FC.
This will also help the Saudi Arabian league as investors will be able to use their British partners to help set up and better run their own domestic league. From players and training, to coaching and new stadiums, these will all be improved upon with British expertise.
According to a report by the Standard, there are a few London clubs that have interested Saudi investors and investment companies. Current owners of West Ham, David Sullivan and David Gold, are not likely to sell at this moment. That being said, these investors could provide a big influx of cash, if Sullivan and Gold would be willing to bring one of these Saudis in as a third owner. This influx of extra cash could do wonders for the club, including being able to purchase expensive, high-profile players.
A great example of Middle Eastern money flowing into English football is, of course, Manchester City. City was purchased in 2008 by a private equity group named the Abu Dhabi United Group, which is based in the United Arab Emirates. And we can clearly see the transformation that has occurred since then, as Manchester City has risen to become one of the “big clubs” in England. A full takeover of West Ham is, again, not likely to happen. However, Sullivan and Gold should definitely be keen to the idea of sharing ownership with one of these Saudi Arabian investors.