Saudi firm Sela to sponsor Newcastle’s preseason tournament at St. James’ Park
NEWCASTLE: Saudi Arabian sporting events company Sela has been named as the main sponsor of a preseason soccer tournament to be held at Newcastle United’s home ground.
The Sela Cup, held in conjunction with VisitMalta, will take place at St. James’ Park a week before the start of the Premier League season.
The competition will feature Newcastle United — who return to preseason training on Sunday — UEFA Conference League beaten finalists Fiorentina, Spain’s Villarreal and French Ligue 1 outfit Nice. It is expected to become a permanent fixture in the Magpies’ summer schedule for the duration of Sela’s multiyear sponsorship deal.
Eddie Howe’s side will take on Fiorentina, who lost to West Ham United in the Conference League final in May, on Saturday, Aug. 5, before hosting Villarreal the following day. Nice will play Villarreal in an early kickoff on Saturday and Fiorentina on Sunday.
“The tournament has been made possible by Newcastle United’s new front-of-shirt partners, Sela, and event sponsors VisitMalta, which promotes travel to the hugely popular Mediterranean island and supports its bustling tourism industry,” the club said.
Newcastle United Women, who became the first professional club in the history of England’s third tier, will also feature in the weekend of football on Tyneside, taking on West Bromwich Albion Women at teatime on Aug. 5.
The tournament format will see teams awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and an additional point per goal scored. On Sunday, following the final match, the winners will be handed the Sela Cup, presented by VisitMalta.
Newcastle United CEO Darren Eales said: “There is huge excitement going into the 2023/24 season, so to be able to give our supporters two days of football involving both our men’s and women’s teams is something that everybody is looking forward to.
“To be able to attract elite clubs from three of Europe’s top leagues shows our ambition to grow as a club and the growing attraction of Newcastle United.
“I would like to sincerely thank our partners, Sela and VisitMalta, for making this possible. Having them on board to offer their expertise in delivering top class events and activations will ensure the tournament is a great weekend for everyone coming to St. James’ Park.”
Ibrahim Mohtaseb, senior vice president at Sela, said: “Since we announced our partnership with Newcastle United, we have seen fantastic support and interest in Sela, both in the UK and in the Middle East.
“To be able to further strengthen our connection with Newcastle’s passionate fan base is truly exciting and we are sure that the Sela Cup will be popular with supporters at a very exciting time ahead of the new season.
“Sela prides itself on creating world class experiences, so for us to bring our resources and expertise to Newcastle is something that we are all very proud to play a key role in and we hope that everybody enjoys what promises to be a great weekend of football.”
Malta’s Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said: “In an era where travel has become an essential part of our lives, sports tourism acts as a catalyst for growth, uniting individuals from diverse backgrounds through the universal language of sports.
“The Sela Cup, presented by VisitMalta, will be a sterling opportunity to strengthen the Maltese island’s prospects in the tourism world.”