Newcastle have hit out at the Premier League for not acting ‘appropriately’ after the club’s protracted takeover bid was finally rejected by the division’s authorities.
Newcastle have been subject of a summer long saga regarding a potential takeover at St James’ Park, a Saudi-backed consortium whose partners included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers bidding to take control from current owner Mike Ashley.
The takeover – which would have catapulted the Magpies into the financial elite – caused controversy with concerns regarding Saudi influence, with questions asked regarding the nation’s human rights record and issues surrounding piracy, with the World Trade Organisation revealing that Saudi Arabia is behind a service that illegally streams major sporting events including the Premier League.
The prospective deal was left in limbo as the Premier League conducted its owners’ and directors’ test, a process which usually takes around a month but was drawn out for 17 weeks before PIF withdrew their takeover bid following a lack of progress.
Newcastle have now released a statement criticising the conduct of the Premier League in a move which could potentially result in legal action, accusing chief executive, Richard Masters, of acting inappropriately in his blocking of the takeover.
“Newcastle United can confirm that the Premier League has rejected a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia based on its owners’ and directors’ test,” said the club’s statement.
“This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government.
“The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them.”
Newcastle’s accusations look likely to lead to the long-running saga continuing in the coming months, with unpopular owner Mike Ashley keen to sell the club to concentrate on his retail empire which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
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