Premier League clubs voted on Monday to impose a temporary freeze on any of them signing commercial and sponsorship deals with businesses that have links to their club’s owners.
The decision was made at an emergency meeting, after concerns were raised that Newcastle United’s new Saudi Arabian owners could sign lucrative deals with Saudi state-owned companies.
Some 80 per cent of Newcastle is now owned by Saudi Arabia’s state sovereign wealth fund.
Eighteen clubs voted in favour of the freeze, while Newcastle voted against and Manchester City abstained.
Premier League financial fair play rules allow clubs to make maximum losses of £105m over a rolling three-year period.
Any artificially inflated commercial deals would increase revenues coming into a club and allow them to get around the rules and spend more than they are allowed.
The temporary freeze will be in place for a month while talks are held about a permanent rule change.
One PL executive said: “If we didn’t have the ban, there would have been nothing to stop Newcastle signing, say a £100m naming rights deal for their stadium with a Saudi company linked to their owners.
“They could then have used that money to buy players in January and get around our financial fair play rules”
Neville and Carra slam treatment of Bruce
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have given a critical assessment of Newcastle’s new ownership, with Neville calling their treatment of Steve Bruce “totally wrong”.
Neville said: “If this was any other industry, it will be classed as employment abuse as the employer would be in serious trouble.
“You have got to demonstrate decency – that’s not just the new owners at Newcastle, it’s the ones before who had him as a lamb to the slaughter or an umbrella to stop the rain coming on their heads.
“Think about it in your own walk of life – if you’re a lawyer, or an accountant or an electrician and you are being treated like this. Think about all the things that have happened in the last few weeks, the leaks, it is not fair on a brilliant man.
“A brilliant football man. A great player. A manager who has had 1,000 games – he deserves to be treated with decency.
“If you are going to sack him, pay him up the full money, don’t resist it, do the right thing and move on.
“If you aren’t going to sack him, tell him and be clear so at least the fans can start having a go at you. Stop using Bruce as a shield for criticism at your football club.”