George Caulkin has explained why the Saudi-backed consortium bidding to buy Newcastle United remain confident they’ll receive Premier League approval.
Speaking for The Athletic, Caulkin insists this ‘confidence’ comes from positive feedback the buyers have received from the Premier League throughout this tedious takeover process, also stating that they remain adamant they’ve done ‘everything asked of them’ to pass their owner’s and director’s test.
Here’s what he’s had to say when asked for his latest thoughts and findings on this ongoing saga:
“The message from the buying side has been consistent: confidence that the deal will be passed by the Premier League.
“That confidence has not been pie-in-the-sky, la la la la, finger-in-the-ears optimism, but based on feedback they have received from the Premier League before and during what has become a very wearing process (don’t forget that it has been a two-way street; not just awaiting a decision, but being asked and answering questions).
“That mood may have influenced all those reports from other publications about the deal being green-lit or on the verge of being announced but they were also inaccurate in the strictest sense of the word, which is why we did not repeat them here. There was not — and still hasn’t been — an official decision.
“Does that confidence remain?
“Yes, because the prospective buyers believe they have done everything asked of them by the Premier League but the atmosphere has also been tainted by the length of time this has taken.
“For some people, this deal has been at least 13 months in the making. For Amanda Staveley and her closest advisors, make that three years.
“Everybody thought it would be done by now, including Mike Ashley. Everybody is exhausted and grumpy: fans, journalists, buyers, sellers. Lives have been put on hold. Everybody’s faith has been stretched.
“Will it happen? That remains the £300-million question. The fee has been agreed, the contract signed, the details are set down in black and white, the plan is in place, Ashley wants out, a new board of directors has been established and they are ready to go.
“Fundamentally, though, it’s down to the Premier League. They give regulatory approval. Excitement and anticipation have been replaced by irritation but this last bit just has to play out in its own time.”
It’s incredibly tedious and exhausting as George says himself, but if there’s one journalist out there whose views and claims I value, it’s his.
He’s not saying it’s happening, however it seems significant that the confidence of the would-be buyers has never wavered throughout this process – suggesting they both fully expected and remain unmoved by fears they’d fail the test over piracy.
On the subject of piracy, the alleged link between the potential buyers and illegal streaming service BeoutQ, here’s what Caulkin also had to say following the release of that WTO report:
“The WTO (World Trade Organization) report is highly critical of Saudi Arabia regarding the piracy of television rights, though neither Newcastle nor the PIF (Public Investment Fund) is specifically mentioned in it,”
“On the face of it, this sounds very damaging, while UEFA and FIFA were both quick to issue strongly-worded statements off the back of it, with the game’s world governing body “demanding” Saudi Arabia take the necessary steps to “protect legitimate rights partners… and football itself”.
“Yet this is also precisely the subject which the Premier League has been discussing with Staveley’s consortium for the past few weeks.”
After ELEVEN draining weeks of claims and counter claims on the takeover front, let’s hope this does all end with Premier League approval and ambitious new owners replacing Mike Ashley at Newcastle United.