The Saudi-backed consortium bidding to take over Newcastle United will re-submit their offer if the club is successful in an arbitration case against the Premier League.
Newcastle were subjected to a £305m takeover bid from a Saudi-backed consortium last year, whose partners included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Amanda Staveley and the Reuben as they sought to take control from current owner Mike Ashley.
The proposed deal received notable opposition amid concerns over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, whilst there was also concern expressed over the illegal streaming of major sporting events by the nation, including England’s top tier and Spain’s La Liga.
The takeover collapsed after the group rejected the Premier League’s offer of arbitration to determine who would own the club, with the bid having been scrutinised for more than four months without decision under the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
According to the Telegraph, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ‘personally lobbied’ Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to reconsider the ‘wrong conclusion’ that he would be in charge of the club, though this is not understood to have prompted the consortium to reconsider their bid after initially withdrawing. The government have denied being involved at any point over the failed takeover bid.
Mike Ashley remains desperate to sell the club and the case now remains a legal one between Newcastle and the Premier League, the Magpies having taken the league to arbitration with the would-be investors awaiting a verdict.
The events come amid the news that Ashley has closed the Sports Direct-owned club shop at St James’ Park with all staff having been made redundant, the report claiming that the club’s proposed new owners want to bring the store back under club control, a potential indication of progress of the takeover.
Should the club’s case against the Premier League prove successful and the takeover come to fruition, it would be a deal that catapults Newcastle into the financial elite of world football and bring an end to the controversial 14-year ownership of Ashley at St James’ Park.
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