Premier League clubs reportedly push for emergency meeting after Newcastle takeover

Newcastle United was sold to a group comprised of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners, and RB Sports & Media.

Scenes outside St James' Park after the Newcastle takeover was announced. (Image: Twitter/Newcastle United)
PUBLISHED: Oct 9, 20213 MINUTE READ

Premier League clubs have raised concerns to the league about Newcastle United’s takeover by a Saudi-led consortium and are pushing for an emergency meeting next week, according to the Guardian newspaper of England. Newcastle United was sold to a group comprised of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners, and RB Sports & Media, the Premier League announced on Thursday. The investment group previously announced a 305 million pound (USD 415 million) bid to purchase the club in April 2020. Three months later, the deal fell through amid scrutiny from the league, which was under pressure to halt the sale due to concerns about alleged broadcast piracy in Saudi Arabia.

The piracy dispute involved Qatari-owned beIN Sports, the league’s Middle East broadcast rights holder, which had been barred from operating in Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, the ban was lifted, removing a major impediment to the takeover. According to the Guardian, the Premier League’s 19 clubs are united in their opposition to allowing a Saudi-led consortium to buy out former owner Mike Ashley. The clubs have also expressed concern that the league’s brand “could be harmed” by Saudi Arabia’s PIF, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and owns an 80 percent stake in Newcastle, according to the report.

Amnesty International urged the Premier League on Thursday to change its owners’ and directors’ test to address human rights concerns. Human rights organisations have criticised Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “sportswash” its human rights record, but the kingdom’s government denies allegations of human rights violations and claims to be protecting national security from extremists and external actors.

WHAT THE NEW OWNERS OF NEWCASTLE UNITED ARE SAYING

PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who will become non-executive chairman of Newcastle United, said in a statement that the deal would mean long-term investment to harness the club’s potential and build upon the club’s legacy. “We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football. We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them,” he said.

The takeover, led by PCP Capital Partners’ chief executive Amanda Staveley, brings an end to an unhappy era at St James’ Park and makes Newcastle one of the richest clubs in the world. Staveley will join Jamie Reuben of RB Sports & Media on Newcastle’s board of directors. “This is a long-term investment,” Staveley said in a statement. “Our ambition is aligned with the fans – to create a consistently successful team that’s regularly competing for major trophies and generates pride across the globe,” she added.

THE QUICK PROCESS

A rapid sequence of events rekindled the deal after Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports, which owns Premier League rights, announced on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia would lift a ban on it and also shut down illegal streaming services, removing a major impediment to the failed takeover. Another stumbling block was overcome after the Premier League, which was under pressure to block the deal last year, received “legally binding” assurances that there was a clear separation between PIF and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that PIF is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.



WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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