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Newcastle Falcons are looking to secure investments from Saudi Arabia, according to Diamond.
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Newcastle Falcons are looking to secure investments from Saudi Arabia, according to Diamond.

The director of rugby for Newcastle, Steve Diamond, has stated that the team is interested in receiving new investments from backers in the Middle East. However, he also mentioned that there are currently no immediate plans for a deal to be finalized. Additionally, Diamond revealed that up to 20 players from the bottom-ranked Premiership club will be leaving at the end of the season.

Newcastle’s loss streak has prompted Diamond to plan for changes to the team, but he doesn’t expect an immediate financial boost despite the club’s chairman, Semore Kurdi, traveling to Saudi Arabia for discussions. According to Diamond, there is currently no potential investment, but Kurdi and Matt Thompson met with officials from the rugby union in Saudi Arabia to explore any possible opportunities. While they do not anticipate hosting a game before the upcoming Tyson Fury fight in May, they are open to finding ways to support and reciprocate any potential investments.

“There’s obviously a natural connection with the soccer team here … and I know they’re coming over to one of our home games. They’re embracing many sports at the moment and they want rugby to be a focus point in Saudi Arabia. That’s what the discussions were about. It wasn’t about going there, opening the war chest and saying: ‘Steve, go and buy the All Black team.’ I’d like that but I don’t think that’s happened.”

During a discussion in the House of Lords, there was a lot of argument about the foreign ownership of sports organizations. Diamond, speaking on the subject, mentioned that rugby’s financial stability is not strong enough to completely turn down potential investment from Saudi Arabia, despite concerns about human rights. He personally feels unqualified to discuss human rights, but points out that many other sports have no issue performing in Saudi Arabia. Rugby clubs are currently facing a precarious situation and must find a way to improve their standing. Ironically, while facing this challenge, it has been revealed that the salary cap for rugby is increasing, which seems unbelievable.

In the near future, Diamond has verified that promising talents Guy Pepper and Louie Johnson will leave the team this upcoming summer and join Bath and Saracens, respectively. Other players will find out about their status in the beginning of next month. “It’s unpleasant to inform individuals that they will no longer have a job, but some of them have been anticipating it. The message needs to be delivered in a straightforward and truthful manner, which is how I have always handled it.”

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The Premier League will resume on Friday night following an eight-week break. The matches will feature Leicester against Gloucester and Bristol against the top team, Northampton. After recovering from an injury, England’s Jack van Poortvliet will finally return to Leicester’s squad for the game, along with Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, and Tommy Reffell who have been selected for the starting team after their participation in the Six Nations matches just six days prior. It has been announced that all 93 matches of the upcoming season will be aired on TNT Sports and Discovery+.

Source: theguardian.com