By Dr Dan Plumley

22nd Sep, 2022 | 7:02am

Finance guru: PIF 'delighted' as plan to move 'key' Newcastle United matches to Saudi emerges

The Saudi Public Investment Fund likely harbour ambitions to see Newcastle United play Champions League football in Saudi Arabia.

That is the view of finance expert Doctor Dan Plumley, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about mooted plans to take Uefa’s top club competition outside Europe.

The Athletic reported on Monday (19 September) that the European Club Association is giving serious thought to playing some Champions League group stage games beyond the continent’s borders.

It is understood that the ECA believes there are significant growth opportunities in this strategy which would help them capitalise on their overseas fanbases.

Newcastle have focused much of their commercial and strategic firepower on the Saudi market since their take over by the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund in October last year.

They played a friendly against Saudi side Al-Ittihad on a trip to their owners’ homeland in the 2021-22 winter break in January.

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Plumley insists that the PIF would love to see the Magpies play competitively in the country at some point in the future.

We have seen already where the key markets are going to be,” the Sheffield Hallam University expert told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.

The US, the Middle East and China are all targets. You can see how this is going to take shape if it takes off.

For Saudi Arabia, they’ll want to be a part of that given their drive in football in the next few years.

Newcastle can get into the Champions League, it would be even better if they can stage some of these games in that country.

So, they will be delighted if the opportunity presents itself.

In other news, Gabby Agbonlahor claims Jack Harrison ready to quit Leeds United for double-your-money Newcastle United deal.