Gulf Finance House "is under scrutiny from the Islamic finance industry over whether its proposed takeover of Leeds United FC is compatible with Sharia principles," according to Gregor Stuart Hunter of THE NATIONAL. The Islamic bank, which is already facing questions over its finances, "may be forced to hive off pubs, restaurants and betting points" at Leeds United's stadium to allow the proposed deal to proceed. Elland Road, the club's stadium, "contains betting points alongside pubs and restaurants where bacon rolls, sausages and alcohol are served."Gambling, drinking alcohol and consumption of pork are prohibited under Sharia. Its presence at the stadium "does not necessarily scuttle the deal." Law firm scholar Sheikh Bilal Khan said, "Such assets would complicate the process of obtaining fatwa to approve the transaction." He added: "There's a lot of potential complications that could arise because of the non-compliant assets involved. GFH Capital may be forced to ring fence the problematic assets under a separate entity" (THE NATIONAL, 10/21).
EPL Newcastle United's controversial new sponsor Wonga "is paying the club £1.5M ($2.4M) a year for the naming rights to St. James’ Park," which is less than half the valuation estimated by sports marketing experts, according to Alex Miller of the London DAILY MAIL. It has been revealed that "Newcastle commissioned an investigation into the valuation of naming rights prior to rubber-stamping the Wonga deal" and was informed it could expect to command between £3M-4M ($4.8M-6.4M) each year. Newcastle has "actually signed two separate contracts with the loan firm." The stadium-naming rights deal "will run for four-and-a-half years, while Wonga has also agreed to a four-year shirt sponsorship deal, starting next season, which is worth between £6M-8M ($9.6M-12.8M) a year" (DAILY MAIL, 10/20).