Can the Premier League veto Saudi Pro League signings?
With the likes of nouveau super-riche Newcastle United having links to the league, will a vote on a proposal to ban player transfers mean anything?
Sandro Tonali’s suspension, which will keep him away from any official football match for the next 10 months, necessitates that Newcastle find a reliable replacement for the Italian midfielder. The first name to emerge as a potential replacement was Rúben Neves, the former Wolverhampton player who was acquired by Al Hilal in the last summer transfer window for a fee of around $60 million. It was at this point that someone in the Premier League should have connected the dots upon seeing Newcastle’s interest in a player from the Saudi league, and potential actions might have been taken.
Premier League vs Saudi transfers
According to a report from The Athletic, Premier League clubs will vote on a proposal at the upcoming shareholders’ meeting to swiftly ban player transfers between affiliated clubs during the January transfer window.
In other words, Newcastle, owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, could potentially lose the opportunity to acquire the Portuguese international to aid their push domestically and in Europe, assuming still in one of the continental competitions. The affiliations of the Middle Eastern-based English club could have an impact on their future sporting plans.
Like any proposal put to a vote in the Premier League, the possibility of vetoing Newcastle’s signings originating from Saudi Arabia will require at least a two-thirds majority (14 clubs) to approve the amended regulation. The top-tier English division recommends this temporary measure to safeguard the integrity of the competition and allow time to reach a longer-term solution.
Since joining the Saudi league, Neves has participated in 23 matches for Al Hilal, during which he has scored three goals and provided four assists.