Let’s face it, surely no-one is going to spend £300m on a new company and not know who’s going to be in charge of that company. Even more so would they commit to a deal with a “Boss” in mind that might scupper the deal. I hardly think so and yet this is said to be the latest issue that threatens to block a potential buyout.
Newcastle United’s proposed takeover by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium has been delayed because of a lack of clarity over who would be in charge at the club, BBC Sport has learned. Sixteen weeks after documents relating to a £300m takeover were registered with the Premier League, the deal is still being scrutinised under its owners’ and directors’ test.
But it is understood compliance requires greater certainty as to who would have ultimate responsibility at St James’ Park.
The bid has been led by British financier Amanda Staveley, but Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund (PIF) is set to take a 80% stake.
PIF’s chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and it appears the Premier League’s lawyers are struggling to establish the precise links between the consortium and the Saudi government. This is crucial given the television rights piracy issues that have dogged the saga, with Saudi Arabia denying claims it facilitated the illegal streaming of sports events in the Middle East.
Meanwhile The Chronicle are reporting that The Premier League are understood to have asked whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be fronting the Public Investment Fund’s part in the consortium, however, for some time the group have insisted that Yasir Al-Rumayyan would be deemed as the incoming chairman of the Magpies.
Al-Rumayyan, a former investment banker, was hired by Saudi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to manage the country’s Public Investment Fund in 2015.
What makes it even worse is that no-one is talking to anyone but several “people in the know” seem to be able to get some information from the major players who definitely are the strong silent type. The Premier League, PIF and Magpies owner Mike Ashley having all declined to comment.
The situation is worrying as we don’t know what’s true and what’s not. But with only seven weeks until the new season starts and the transfer window open, patience is staring to wear thin on all sides. Not least from our wonderfully loyal fans that surely deserve better treatment than they’ve been getting.