Richard Masters speaks about £300m Saudi takeover & piracy after WTO report is released

Premier League CEO Richard Masters has told Sky Sports they will continue to take piracy “very seriously” following the release of the WTO report – but insists he can say nothing on the “substance” of their findings or the “timing” of a decision on a potential £300m takeover of Newcastle United.

Masters also offered a clear ‘no’ when asked if Project Restart has contributed towards the takeover delay:

This comes after the WTO report finally went public at 3pm today (you can read it in full here).

In this, links between Saudi Arabia and beoutQ were highlighted, yet there was NO direct reference to Newcastle United or a potential £300m takeover – contrary to claims from the BBC’s Ian Dennis earlier today saying there would be.

The report is still deemed by many on social media to be ‘damning’ and a ‘big win’ for Qatar / BeIN in their battle to end piracy, explaining how the Saudi government failed to implement “criminal procedures and penalties” to those behind the beoutQ service, also blocking Qatar’s ability to challenge the channel in Saudi courts, however it does not directly identify a link between the would-be buyers of Newcastle United (PIF) and beoutQ.

So, in short, the report confirms beoutQ piracy occurred within Saudi Arabia and wasn’t dealt with correctly within KSA, but it fails to level direct accusations against the Saudi PIF – suggesting the Premier League may not have a legal case to block this £300m takeover.

Following the release of the WTO report, here’s what Premier League CEO Richard Masters has said on Sky Sports News in the last few moments:

“We take piracy very seriously.

“We stand by what we said in the past.

“In relation to takeovers, I can’t say anything about the substance or timing.”

For more clarity on the findings from the long-winded WTO report, here’s some interesting insights from Ben Jacobs – a Middle-East correspondent who writes for both ESPN and BeIN Sports themselves:

What happens next is anyone’s guess, but the WTO report doesn’t appear to be quite as bad as some feared when it comes to the impact it will have on a Saudi-backed takeover.

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan, he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC!

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