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Liverpool owner John Henry ‘leads FSG group’ to meet Newcastle chairman after £2.4bn deal

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Liverpool owner John W Henry is said to have met with Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan in Saudi Arabia.

Liverpool owner John Henry has reportedly led a team from Fenway Sports Group (FSG) to Saudi Arabia for talks with Newcastle United chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan.

The meeting was about the future of golf, as FSG has investments in various sports including golf through the Strategic Sports Group consortium.

The future of the PGA Tour, one of FSG’s investments after a £2.4bn deal was completed by a consortium led by Henry, is uncertain due to the emergence of LIV Golf, a Saudi-backed tour attracting big-name players. Despite missing an initial deadline for a merger between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, “meaningful progress” has been reported by Jay Monahan, CEO of the PGA Tour.

Al-Rumayyan, who is also the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund and became Newcastle’s chairman after the club’s takeover in 2021, had earlier met with Monahan. According to the Sports Business Journal, Monahan’s trip was part of a delegation led by Henry, which also included Sam Kennedy, CEO of the FSG-owned Boston Red Sox.

Henry, 74, is said to have played a key role in talks due to his ‘ability to listen and not let ego get in the way’. The Telegraph reported in January that Monahan and Al-Rumayyan had a phone chat before Christmas after an earlier face-to-face meeting didn’t happen.

In mid-January, outgoing DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley told The Telegraph he expected a solution soon. “I’m here for the next three months and by then we hope to come to a conclusion and I’ve told the PGA Tour and representatives from PIF that is my primary focus,” he shared.

“I truly believe it [that a deal can be reached],” Pelley continued. “I’ve believed it for a long time and that is the reason that we entered into the framework agreement [last June] and we need to move forward.

“I said things would heat up after the Ryder Cup, and they have. So yeah, I’m optimistic over the next couple of months. And that’s the primary reason I’m not leaving straight away.”

LIV Golf, started in 2021 and launched its first events in 2022, has drawn a number of big-name former PGA Tour players. Among the stars to make the switch is Masters winner Jon Rahm, though the Spaniard kept hope of returning to PGA Tour events in the future.

“If there’s ever a way back and a way where we can play, even if it’s as an invite, I will take it,” he said before a LIV Golf event in Las Vegas. “There’s certain events that are special to me that I would still love to support. It was a lot harder to be at home not competing and know that those events were going on.”

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