Premier League Clubs Reject Temporary Ban on Related-Party Loans

A proposed temporary ban on related-party loans in the Premier League, aimed at restricting player transfers between teams under the same ownership, failed to gain the necessary support, allowing Newcastle and other clubs to sign players from sides also controlled by their owners in January.

The proposed ban received votes from 12 clubs, falling two votes short of the required two-thirds majority. Clubs such as Newcastle, Manchester City, Chelsea, Sheffield United, Everton, Wolves, Nottingham Forest, and Burnley voted against the ban. The Premier League had expressed support for the ban as a temporary measure until a more permanent solution could be established before the summer transfer window.

This decision implies that Newcastle United, under Saudi ownership since October 2021, can pursue player acquisitions from clubs controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF acquired four leading Saudi Arabian clubs in June, including Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli, and Al-Ittihad.

Although the ban did not pass, it was proposed only for incoming loans, not outgoing ones, and the Premier League acknowledged concerns among its members about the potential competitive advantage loans between affiliated clubs might provide.

Notably, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Riyad Mahrez are among the high-profile former Premier League players currently at PIF-owned clubs. A potential January move for Ruben Neves from Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal to Newcastle could address the midfield gap left by Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban.

The failed vote highlights a rare defeat for the Premier League. A parallel proposal for stricter rules regarding sponsorship deals between ‘associated parties’ also did not secure sufficient support. Additionally, league chiefs were unable to secure approval for a £900 million financial settlement with the English Football League, emphasising a split among clubs on important regulatory and financial matters.