Keith Downie has revealed what sources close to the PIF and Saudi-consortium have told Sky Sports News in response to Richard Masters’ letter to Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah.
This letter from the Premier League CEO was the first time top flight chiefs have commented on the matter since the Saudi bid was pulled a two weeks ago, and it seems those close to the bid have been left perplexed by some of his claims.
Here’s the three messages Sky Sports’ Keith Downie has shared following contact with ‘sources close’ to the Saudi buyers / PIF:
A source close to PIF has told SSN tonight that the consortium provided written assurances from the highest possible government department, notably the Saudi Royal Court, that the Kingdom would have no influence over the running of NUFC.
If that were true and let’s face, we have no idea what is true and what isn’t as the situation changes virtually hourly, then surely this means the statement from Masters is untrue. Would they really go public with a lie? Who knows, but these are strong counter claims from the Saudi side regarding the ‘problematic’ link between PIF / KSA.
The source close to Saudi-led group told SSN it was impossible for them to offer any further detail about the independence of the consortium from the State. Source added that the idea the group were holding back information was “bizarre”.
If they wanted the deal and were serious (and I have no doubt at all they were), then all I can think is that either they had something to hide or the Premier League really, really don’t want to have them in any way shape or form.
Our source claims the consortium were only offered arbitration on the single point regarding the question of how much influence the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would have on the day-to-day running of the football club.
Not only offered arbitration on ONE single point but offered it despite a decision not being made? Now, I’m no business expert but I always understood that arbitration only came in when there was a clear dispute/disagreement. How can one come about before a decision has even been made?!
In this case there was no decision from the Premier League so to suggest arbitration on a decision they didn’t make is wrong.
Even if they were prepared to say, “we can’t approve because of this single point but we can go to arbitration.” Or “give us the written assurances on this single point and then we’ll make a decision,” that would have been clearer.
At the moment though it appears to be a stand-off on both sides with claim and counterclaim being made. And in the mean time, there’s strong talk of the Singapore-based BN Group upping their interest, if these bold ‘exclusives’ from the Shields Gazette are to be believed.
I believe that the PIF are bitterly disappointed and frustrated and have probably been edged to no more action because they now don’t want to work with the Premier League structure.
But, whatever the situation, I’m going to change complete tack on this story and publicly thank @SkySports_Keith for the tireless way he’s tried to report the fact whilst still showing he supports the takeover and is desperate for the fans to get what they want one way or another.
Let’s hope some form of resolution arrives shortly!