Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has reassured supporters that the government will not get in the way of a Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United.
Dowden reiterated his view that the Premier League, who have been dragging their heels for several weeks now, need to come up with their own decision on the takeover amid growing concerns from the likes of Amnesty and Qatar-backed beIN Sports.
The piracy issue raised by beIN Sports drew attention of Conservative MP Karl McCartney last week, but Dowden insists it is not for the government to make these decisions:
“The first thing is for the Premier League to conduct a fit-and-proper-person test,” he told Sky News.
“They do that for anyone looking to take over clubs in the Premier League.
“It’s right that we allow the Premier League to conduct that.
“It is for the Premiership.
It is for the Premier League to make that assessment.”
PIF are alleged to be major players behind beoutQ, the television network accused of illegally streaming Premier League fixtures in Saudi Arabia.
This is seen as the key stumbling block in the deal, as it could breach the “presenting false, misleading or inaccurate information” regulation in the Premier League’s fit and proper person test.
That said, George Caulkin of The Athletic does not believe the buying party sees this as a potential red flag, and that Staveley’s consortium anticipated this hurdle prior to attempting a deal.
An update by Sky Sports’ Keith Downie a few days ago also indicated the deal was approaching its final furlong, and that the deal is very much still on.
For our own sanity, let’s hope it draws to some sort of conclusion this week!