The pressure is mounting on the Premier League to explain why they took an unprecedented amount of time to make a decision on a Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United.
Several individuals and organisations have demanded answers over the past few days after the buyers regrettably withdrew their bid last week in light of the four-month wait for a final decision.
Now, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, Pat Ritchie, is the latest to seek answers, with her letter to Richard Masters asking the Premier League to provide a formal explanation behind the damaging delay.
Ritchie also writes about her support of a potential “compromise” to allow the takeover to go through, citing the planned investment in the city and the growth it could facilitate as a major reason behind their support.
As revealed by The Chronicle, here’s the letter Newcastle Council’s, Pat Ritchie, has now sent to Premier League CEO Richard Masters:
“As Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council I write to express my concern and disappointment that the Premier League took so long to consider the proposed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club and that as a result of those delays the deal seems to have collapsed.
“Whilst we understand that the Premier League has due process to follow you will also be aware that for cities that host Premiership Clubs these investments can be about more than football – the impact of such investment into the wider city and the region can be transformational.
“As our city starts to rebuild and emerge from COVID we are clear that continuing investment and job creation in the city will play a critical part in our recovery.
“Our city centre development zones are ready for investment and the partners involved in this deal were keen to work with us to unlock commercial activity.
“Members of the consortium spear-heading this deal had made a clear long-term commitment to the city to help drive growth and regeneration, from investment in the city’s physical infrastructure to working with the Newcastle United Foundation.
“The Foundation’s main objective is to support the local community using the power of football to encourage learning, support employability and promote healthy lifestyles that make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children.
“It is on this basis that I write to request an explanation of the reasons behind the lack of decision making over this 17 week period.
“We are keen to understand if there is an opportunity to pursue a compromise that both satisfies the Premier League’s concerns and also helps demonstrate the positive impact that football can deliver to the city and facilitate much needed growth.
“I am happy to discuss this further with your officers – and happy to share the wider investment ambitions of the partners if you are willing to take this opportunity.”
This is another positive step, meaning the council, the racecourse and the consortium (via Staveley and the Reuben brothers) have all applied different degrees of pressure on the Premier League to cooperate following four months of unacceptable silence and stalling.
We too can also play our part, however, by signing the petition (that’s now surpassed 75,000 signatures!) that’s and becoming a member of the NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) – our best vehicle for change given their strength in numbers and recognition within the Premier League.
Let’s keep pushing.