Saudi Arabia’s PIF takes control of four leading clubs in the country – including Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, Lionel Messi’s suitors Al-Hilal and Karim Benzema’s new club Al-Ittihad – as part of investment drive
- Saudi Arabia announced Public Investment Fund will take 75 per cent stake
- The four clubs taken over as Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal
- Saudi said the takeovers would ‘unleash investment opportunities’ for the clubs
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has announced it will take ownership of the country’s four leading football clubs.
PIF, which owns an 80 per cent stake in Premier League club Newcastle United, will take control of Saudi outfits Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal.
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr earlier this year, while Lionel Messi is strongly linked with a move to Al-Hilal this summer.
Al-Ittihad have just won the Saudi Pro League title and have just signed Karim Benzema from Real Madrid, while Al-Ahli have just won promotion back to the top-flight.
Monday’s announcement said sovereign wealth fund PIF will own 75 per cent of each club and establish non-profit foundations which will incorporate the club’s existing members.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr are among four Saudi Arabian clubs that have been taken over by the country’s Public Investment Fund [PIF]
Al-Hilal, who want to sign Argentine star Lionel Messi, are another of the four clubs involved
The Saudi PIF tweeted on Monday it had taken 75 per cent ownership of four leading clubs
PIF will choose five board members for each of the quartet with the general assembly of the non-profit foundations choosing the other two, plus the club president.
The official PIF Twitter account said: ‘As part of today’s announcement of the Sport Clubs Investment and Privatisation Project, four Saudi clubs – Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr and Al Hilal – have been transformed into companies, each of which is owned by PIF and non-profit foundations for each club.’
They added: ‘PIF’s ownership in the clubs’ companies represent 75 per cent in each club, while their respective non-profit foundations hold 25 per cent ownership of each club.
‘The transfer of the four clubs will unleash various commercial opportunities, including investment, partnership and sponsorships across numerous sports.’
Portuguese superstar Ronaldo, 38, signed for Al-Nassr in December following his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, agreeing a two-year contract worth around £175million per year.
He scored 14 times in 16 outings in the Pro League but was unable to steer them to the title as they finished five points adrift of Al-Ittihad.
Argentine World Cup winner Messi, 35, is reportedly poised to sign for Al-Hilal this week after he was offered a staggering £345m per season.
Messi has just played his final match for French club Paris Saint-Germain. He has been working as a travel ambassador for Saudi Arabia since last year, earning £25m-a-year.
Lionel Messi has been linked with a move to Saudi club Al-Hilal after leaving PSG
Karim Benzema is set to join Al-Ittihad on a lucrative contract after leaving Real Madrid
Former Wolves and Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo is at Pro League champions Al-Ittihad
PIF claim the takeovers will ‘unleash commercial opportunities’ for the four clubs involved
Benzema, 35, has left Real Madrid after 14 years after agreeing a two-year deal with Jeddah-based club Al-Ittihad worth around £345m.
Al-Ittihad are managed by the former Wolves and Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Saudi PIF led the consortium that bought out Newcastle for £305m in October 2021.
The Premier League approved the takeover after receiving ‘legally binding assurances’ that the Saudi state would not control the club.
This was despite the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, being listed as the chair of PIF.