Newcastle United close to Saudi takeover

European soccer may soon have another multi-billionaire club owner.

Media reports say English Premier League team Newcastle United will soon be acquired by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

The deal is said to be worth £305 million, or about $415 million - small change for the Saudi investment vehicle.

But critics say approving the takeover means the league is ignoring concerns over the kingdom's human rights record.

The fund is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Newcastle supporters say that's nothing to do with them though.

Charlotte Robson is a board member of the club's supporters trust.

"I think it's vastly unfair to put it on your average football fan, who just wants their club to do really well. If this money is being allowed to come into the Premier League, that's the Premier League's issue, if they're going to allow unscrupulous actors like that into the league, that's on them."

Newcastle fans will understandably welcome some serious financial backing for their club.

It's a sleeping giant of the game, with big support but little in the way of recent success.

Others are concerned at the influence of state money on soccer.

Dominant French club Paris St Germain is backed by Qatar.

English club Manchester City is backed by the UAE, and has won the Premier League in three of the last four years.

If the new Saudi bid goes through, future title races could be a contest of middle east money, as much as soccer skills.

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