Premier League chairman makes ‘fantastic’ Newcastle United takeover claim

Steve Parish, chairman of Crystal Palace, has spoken about the impact of Newcastle United’s takeover.

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Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish says Newcastle United’s success since the Saudi Arabian-led takeover is a “fantastic story” - but feels rules should be put in place to maintain a “fair and level playing field”.

Speaking to former Manchester United defender Gary Neville on the latest edition of the Overlap, Parish was asked about the impact of state-owned clubs after Manchester City, owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, lifted their fifth Premier League title in six seasons.

The Premier League received “legally binding assurances” from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, who 80 per-cent of Newcastle, that the Kingdom will not control the club. Despite this, Newcastle’s ownership model continues to come under scrutiny.

Parish, however, has defended Newcastle, using the argument of the United Kingdom’s business dealings with Saudi Arabia.

“With the state-owned clubs, I personally feel that as long as we deal with a country as a country, that anybody should be allowed to own a football club,” said Parish. “We allowed anybody to buy a business.”

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish, (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish, (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish, (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Newcastle have gone from battling relegation to qualifying for the Champions League in just over 18 months, which Parish described as a “fantastic news story for football”.

However, the 57-year-old wants “a fair and level playing field”, and hinted at current regulations such as Financial Fair Play having flaws.

Parish continued: “The benefits those owners have brought to their clubs and to their towns, I think it’s very difficult to stand in the way of that. It’s very difficult to stand in the way of what’s happening at Newcastle which is a fantastic news story for football.

“I’m sure all the investment that will go into a fantastic town, a place I’ve visited a lot, I have businesses up there, I’ve got a lot of affinity for. But we need rules because there are some people who have just unlimited money.

“If you just make it a factor of you can spend what you want, the rest of us might as well just pack up. I’m talking about the Liverpools, Man Utds, Arsenals and Tottenhams, not just the Crystal Palaces.

“We need to embrace all that’s good about those situations, and just make sure we have a fair and level playing field. There’s a lot of work to be done on that in order to get the rules right.”