Newcastle’s first home match back in the Champions League is the clash between the two richest clubs in football as PSG take to the field at St James’ Park on Wednesday night.
The perennial French champions have dominated the domestic scene since being taken over by the Qatar Investment Authority back in 2012.
PSG have been bankrolled by Qatar Sports Investments to significant success, but the Champions League remains elusive with just the single final to their name back in 2020.
Their latest pursuit of Champions League glory comes against a side embarking on the same path, with Newcastle’s return to the competition seen as just the start due to being majority owed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
The match is also notable off the pitch for pitting the top most well-known Qatar and Saudi Arabian-backed clubs against each other on the pitch, given the tension between the two Gulf nations in the past.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will lead his side into a Champions League home match with PSG
The clash will be between two sides backed by Gulf funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Newcastle’s Saudi backed takeover in 2021 had faced opposition from Qatari owners amid a piracy dispute over BeIN Sports, which is led by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi
Your browser does not support iframes.
Tensions were at their peak between 2017 and 2020, when Saudi Arabia led a blockade of Qatar with the support of Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The economic blockade of followed accusations that Qatar had sponsored terrorism, claims the nation denied.
The dispute spilled over into the sport scene with BeIN Sports, led by its chairman and PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, were banned from operating in Saudi Arabia. BeIN filed protests over the emerge of pirate operator, beoutQ, which they alleged was backed by Saudi Arabia and had been broadcasting Premier League matches over a four-year period.
The network’s protests to the Premier League had led to Newcastle’s takeover being delayed, despite the consortium denying they were behind the piracy.
A takeover processes that began in April 2020 was eventually concluded in October 2021, months after the economic blockade was lifted and a reported agreement being reached over the piracy dispute.
Yet, the TV blackout remains in Saudi Arabia with Newcastle matches unable to be broadcast through legitimate means in the nation.
BeIN Sports remains blocked there in an ongoing trade dispute, with the company having lodged a multi-billion pound compensation claim against Saudi Arabia with the United Nations Commission on International Trade.
Despite Saudi Crown Prince and de factor ruler Mohammed bin Salman wearing a Qatari scarf and embraced Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamin at the opening game of last year’s World Cup, the beIN Sport satellite was again switched off in Saudi Arabia during the tournament.
Given the background off the pitch, the director’s boxes at St James Park could be frosty on Wednesday night with more than just a Champions League group stage win to play for.
Ahead of the match, Mail Sport takes a look at how the two clubs a faring off the field with Newcastle playing catch-up to PSG.
The match will be the richest in football given the respective wealth of both club’s ownership
Newcastle will be seeking to catch-up with PSG on and off the field after their 2021 takeover
With both clubs billed as having the world’s richest owners, the overall title goes to Newcastle given the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund’s backing.
Last month, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund reported that assets under its management had surpassed £490bn.
The fund invests on behalf of the country’s government with the reported aim of delivering financial returns and long-term value.
The Qatar Investment Authority was established under a similar premise in 2005, with the idea of diversifying the small Gulf nation’s economy beyond the oil industry.
Assets under control of the fund are claimed to total £391bn, meaning the wealth behind the two competing teams on Wednesday night is a staggering £881bn.
The fund’s offshoot Qatar Sports Investments, led by former tennis player Nasser Al-Khelaifi, took over the club in 2011.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund is governed by Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and reportedly has assets surpassing £490bn
Nasser Al-Khelaifi serves as PSG president and the chief executive of Bein Sports, with the French side backed by the Qatar Investment Authority valued at £391bn
The investment and success enjoyed by PSG has also been reflected in the club’s growing revenues.
PSG rose quickly up the rankings in the annual Deloitte Football Money League, which ranks clubs based on the revenue generated from their football operations.
Having failed to be ranked in top 30 the year the Qatari backed takeover occurred, PSG placed fifth in the money league earlier this year.
Only Manchester City, Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Manchester United were found to have generated more than the £554m made by the French outfit in the 2021/22 season.
PSG’s growth had represented an 18 per cent increase from the previous year.
PSG earn an estimated £60m per season through their Qatar Airways shirt sponsorship
Newcastle’s £25m-a-year shirt sponsor Sela will oversee a drone show for the Champions League match
Newcastle, by contrast, had only just broken into the top 20 in the standings and were ranked 11th of the Premier League sides included.
The Mapgies placed behind Everton, Leicester and Leeds, with the latter two having since been relegated from the top flight.
Revenues of £179.8m show the distance Newcastle would have to go to close the gap to PSG, although Champions League qualification and the Premier League’s lucrative television deal should allow the club to make quick inroads.
Both PSG and Newcastle have notably been backed by shirt sponsors from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
PSG’s deal with Qatar Airways reportedly nets the club as much as £60m per season, while Newcastle announced a £25m-a-year front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with Saudi events company Sela in June.
PSG have not been shy to throw their vast wealth around, with the Parisians responsible for the two most expensive transfers of all-time.
Neymar’s seismic £198m move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017 remains the staggering figure still occupying the record books.
The decision from PSG to pay the buyout clause has been viewed by some to have destabilised the transfer market as a whole.
PSG made a similar outlay the following season by signing Kylian Mbappe for £163m, with the French World Cup winner still remaining their prized asset.
The two deals have largely been outliers, with summer signing Randal Kolo Muani their third most expensive purchase at £64.2m.
Full back Achraf Hakimi and Goncalo Ramos follow at £59m and £56m respectively.
Newcastle’s top 10 most expensive signings have all come from the 2019-20 season onwards. Which is not surprising when Michael Owen had held the club transfer record for 13 years after being signed for £16m back in 2005.
The Magpies current record signing is Alexander Isak, who was brought to the club from Real Sociedad for £60m ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Summer signings Sandro Tonali is second at £52m followed by Anthony Gordon and Joelinton at £40m. Harvey Barnes rounds off the top five at £38m.
Neymar’s staggering £198million move to PSG in 2017 remains a world record transfer
Newcastle paid a club record £60m to sign striker Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad in 2022
PSG were reported to have had the highest ever wage bill recorded in football during the 2021-22 campaign, forking out an eye-watering £643million per year.
The wage bill has undoubtedly been cut with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Ramos having left the club at the end of last season.
Kylian Mbappe remains, despite a stand off with the club over the summer, with the French star taking home a reported £650,000-a-week.
Mbappe’s wages dwarf those given to Newcastle’s top earners, with four players picking up an estimated £120,000-a-week.
Captain Kieran Trippier is among the Magpies leading earners, along with Isak, Tonali and Bruno Guimaraes.
Guimaraes last month reached a verbal agreement over a new contract until 2028, which will see the Brazilian midfielder receive a pay rise.
Kylian Mbappe is PSG’s top earner with the forward reportedly earning £650,000-a-week
Bruno Guimaraes is among Newcastle’s top earners and is expected to sign a new contract
Newcastle have a considering gulf to breach if they are to catch up to PSG’s total number of trophy wins.
The French side officially have won 48 titles in their history, including winning the Ligue 1 title on 11 occasions. Notably, nine of those triumphs have come under the club’s Qatari ownership.
PSG have also dominated the Coupe de France and the now defunct League Cup, yet a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and an Intertoto Cup remain their sole continental triumphs.
Newcastle went close to ending their 54-year wait for a major trophy last season when Eddie Howe’s reached the Carabao Cup final, where they were beaten by Manchester United.
The Magpies remain stuck on 11 major honours, with the 1969 Fairs Cup still their most recent success. Newcastle have won four league titles and enjoyed six FA Cup triumphs, but will be keen to end their trophy drought.
PSG won their 11th Ligue 1 title last season and a ninth under the club’s Qatari ownership
Newcastle’s 54-year wait for a trophy continued after their Carabao Cup final loss in February
Newcastle will hope a booming St James’ Park can act help inspire the team to a famous win over PSG on Wednesday.
The stadium is also an area where the club have an edge over PSG, with 58,000 passionate Geordies and away supporters fans able to cram in for each match.
By contrast, PSG currently play at the 48,583-capacity Parc des Princes, where they have been based since their formation in 1970.
PSG were reported earlier this year to be in the running to buy the 80,000 capacity Stade de France.
This came amid frustrations in their attempts to buy the Parc des Princes from City of Paris, with the aim to expanded the overall capacity to 58,000.
Newcastle will home their home crowd helps Howe’s side beat their Champions League rivals
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.
It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify
Your browser does not support iframes.
Your browser does not support iframes.