May 24, 2024

Yesterday, Premier League teams participated in a vote regarding the permissibility of loaning players from clubs with shared ownership. The focus had primarily been on Newcastle United, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Reports had suggested that Newcastle was interested in securing the loan of former Wolves captain Ruben Neves from Al Hilal, a club owned by PIF.

Newcastle, managed by Eddie Howe, currently faces a shortage of players, with Sandro Tonali serving a 10-month ban for breaching betting regulations.

PIF holds ownership of four clubs in Saudi Arabia, and as a result of the vote, Newcastle is now allowed to acquire players on loan from any of these affiliated clubs.

However, the implications of the vote extend beyond Newcastle. It was revealed that Premier League clubs had rejected the proposal to ban loans between clubs with shared ownership. Initially, the voting positions of individual clubs were unclear. The Times reported in the evening that Wolves, along with Newcastle United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Sheffield United, Everton, Sheffield United, and Burnley, had voted against the ban.

For the ban to be implemented, it required approval from at least 14 clubs, suggested as a temporary measure until a more permanent solution could be established before the next summer transfer window. Ultimately, only 13 clubs supported the ban.

Wolves’ decision to vote against restricting loans between related parties is notable. Fosun, the club’s owner since 2016, also owns Swiss club Grasshoppers, with whom Wolves have a close working relationship. Grasshoppers is often referred to as a ‘feeder club,’ with several players from Wolves having been loaned there. However, there have been no instances of players moving on loan from Grasshoppers to Wolves, except for Hayao Kawabe, whose transfer to Wolves was permanent for a reported £500,000.

Wolves’ vote against the ban suggests a strategic move to keep their options open, possibly recognizing the value of being able to acquire players from Grasshoppers. The outcome of this vote adds an intriguing dimension to the potential January move for Ruben Neves by Newcastle. If Wolves had voted differently, there might have been enough support for the ban to pass, preventing Newcastle from securing the Portuguese midfielder.

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