Saudi Arabia’s takeover bid for English football club Newcastle United re-launched – Middle East & Gulf News



The previously blocked buyout of Newcastle United by the Saudis is expected to be approved if the club can prove in arbitration proceedings between the club and the Premier League on January 3.rd that the kingdom will not be director of the club.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and the Premier League opposed it in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) where the Queen’s Counsel (QC) employed by Ashley’s St James’ Holdings alleged that major UK clubs and Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports lobbied the Premier League. to kill the takeover.

It has also been alleged that if Newcastle proceeds with a buyout they could be sent off from the highest level of English football, but these were just simple threats thrown into the mix, amid efforts to block the Saudi deal that , in April 2020, included the Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF. , PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, who agreed to a £ 300million payment to buy the club from Mike Ashley. The consortium withdrew from the deal at the end of July 2020 after the expiration of the business agreement between the investment group and the club owners.

At the time, as the BBC revealed, the Premier League was looking to clarify the connection between the PIF and the Saudi state as to who will govern the club.

The same question remains today. Premier League QC Adam Lewis explained that the arbitration depends on the separation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the PIF.

“If the arbitration decides that KSA is not a director, the transaction can and will continue, with no question of the owners and directors test being applied to KSA,” Lewis said.

The test in question refers to the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018. This would not figure in the decision-making process for the buyout, if the state were excluded. in January as decision maker or manager of Newcastle United in the event of a sale to the consortium.

As for the role played by beIN Sports in opposing the takeover, this was in part because of Qatar’s then pronounced regional rivalry with Saudi Arabia and, more aptly, its audiovisual piracy allegations against the Kingdom.

“By the time the Premier League made its decision, beIN was in negotiations with the Premier League for another three years” [overseas] rights agreement, ”said Daniel Jowell QC, representing St James’ Holdings.

“It was very publicly reported at the time that the beIN media group had actively lobbied the Premier League against the takeover of Newcastle.” Jowell said.

Jowell also said the failure of the deal had already cost Newcastle losses “in excess of £ 10million”.

Premier League doldrums in Newcastle

By the January 3 arbitration hearing, there are 14 games, the most recent of which is October tie featuring a loss. On that date, they were second with a total of 3 points and not even a single victory to their credit.

For the majority of fans, refereeing is where they channel their hope.

Jowell said there is no guarantee the PIF will always wait, checkbook in hand, to buy the club from Mike Ashley, especially with the club’s loss record worsening.


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