Staveley Says Soccer Super League Would Ruin Club Valuations

May 11, 2021


(Bloomberg) -- Amanda Staveley, the financier who led a 300 million pound ($424 million) takeover bid for soccer team Newcastle United last year, has said the adoption of a European Super League would have collapsed valuations of Premier League clubs.

The failed project would’ve “damaged the entire game” and therefore every club both “financially and reputationally,” said Staveley in a Bloomberg TOPLive Blog Tuesday.

Staveley, whose consortium to takeover Newcastle United included the billionaire Reuben Brothers and Saudi Arabia’s Public Infrastructure Fund, said that without the reward of a place in the UEFA Champions League -- the proposed league would have had 15 permanent members -- the Premier League would have lost much of its appeal to fans and the value of its broadcast rights would decrease.

Newcastle United wasn’t one of the teams invited into the Super League.

Staveley, whose group walked away from the Newcastle deal last year after a prolonged regulatory process, was taking part in a live Q&A blog about the future of European soccer following the failure of the JPMorgan Chase & Co.-backed project. She added that the valuations of Premier League clubs, which can go as high as 1.5 to 3 times revenues, would have crashed if the league had gone ahead as proposed.

Staveley declined to comment on the collapse of the Newcastle deal, which faced criticism from human rights groups and concerns over piracy. The consortium formally withdrew its interest in July blaming the prolonged process and current challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Staveley said that Middle Eastern investors fully understood that soccer has an impact on wider society. “Our investing partners appreciate and understand that.” She said they were long-term investors and had the ability to weather downturns such as the current Covid-led reductions in revenues.

Staveley was speaking on a panel that included Keith Harris, the veteran deal-maker on football deals. Harris said he thought European soccer needed a better thought-out financial fair play system to control costs.

Former Crystal Palace and Brighton soccer player Glenn Murray, also on the panel, said that it was important players weren’t over-used. “We want to watch the best ply their trade, not tired players constantly getting injured.”

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