UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has this morning shown support for our proposed Saudi-backed takeover, believing it could be a “welcome investment” into English football.
Our takeover saga has dragged on for 11 weeks now and has been met with obstacles from all angles, but the cabinet minister today gave signs of positivity for us Toon fans.
Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News today, here’s what Raab had to say when asked about a potential Saudi takeover at St James’ Park:
“It’s right that we welcome engagement, investment into football in this country but legal safeguards must be properly followed to allow the takeover bid to take place.
“There’s a proper process that we’ve got in place to look at everything from the competition aspects to other questions of propriety.”
“I think it’s right that legal due process, with all its safeguards that it’s got in place, is followed. We have this debate about takeovers in this country, and I think we should follow the rule of law.”
The Tory MP also highlighted Chelsea’s acquisition by Roman Abramovich as a complicated takeover in the past, but doubled-down on his belief that foreign investment should be welcomed.
“We had the same debate in relation to (Roman) Abramovich and Chelsea,”
“I think it’s right that we welcome engagement, investment into football in this country.
“Everyone’s pleased to see the Premier League back up and running, and also that there are legal safeguards to make sure it’s done the proper way.
“This country is an open, outward-looking country. We’ve got investment from all around the world, but we do need safeguards in place.
“We’ve seen that in relation to 5G, takeovers that national security and other questions of propriety are properly scrutinised.
“We’ve got the due process and laws in place to do that. We have to trust the institutions we’ve got to deliver that.”
Raab’s comments make him the highest profile person in government – and possibly of all – to openly discuss our potential takeover, and there is some substance to his comments too.
The fact he mentions previous takeover bids is important, as there is an element of hypocrisy as to why our deal in particular has been scrutinised so heavily over the past three months.
It is important to remember that the UK and Saudi Arabia – rightly or wrongly – are actually allied as countries. These words of support from the Foreign Secretary today could indicate that the government would refuse to get involved in blocking a deal from the country.
Positive comments for Newcastle fans? Time will tell.