A new report on the ongoing Saudi takeover saga has emerged from The Independent today, featuring a few intriguing details as a final decision on the £300m deal approaches D-day.
After confirming a few key dates regarding the all important legal battle between Newcastle United and the Premier League – Mike Ashley’s anti-competition lawsuit will begin next month and the arbitration case is set for July – Tony Evans’ piece reveals what sources close to the Saudi-backed consortium are now saying.
The report states that those close to the Saudi consortium are ‘confident’ the arbitration hearing will have a happy ending – revealing that the would-be buyers have always maintained that a takeover will go through eventually.
The Independent also offer an insight into an argument that will be put forward in June’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), stating Ashley and the Staveley-led consortium will argue that several Premier League teams made frowned upon moves to block the deal in fear of what we could become under Saudi investment.
Here’s a snippet from the piece itself, which discusses the issues set to be discussed in upcoming hearings, PIF’s ongoing appetite to invest in Newcastle and continued confidence that this will all end in a £300m deal going through:
Ashley – and those connected with the Amanda Staveley-led Saudi takeover – believes that a number of top-flight teams encouraged blocking the sale because they fear Newcastle emerging as a significant power in English football.
Newcastle contend that the league has never rejected the Saudi-backed bid and merely stalled in giving a decision under the owners’ and directors’ test.
The Premier League is concerned that PIF’s involvement means that Newcastle would be operated as a state-owned entity. Staveley contends that the day-to-day running of the club would be independent of PIF.
One of the big issues surrounding Riyadh’s involvement in English football was the hacking of BeIn Sport, the Premier League’s broadcast partner in the Gulf, by Saudi pirate television stations. The Qatari-based BeIn believed that the hijacking of their channels could not have been achieved without state backing.
Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a three year blockade on Qatar that ended in December. Relations between the neighbouring nations have been restored but continue to be delicate. The disruption of BeIn’s signals have ended.
PIF’s appetite to invest in Newcastle remains strong. Despite withdrawing their offer last summer, those around the consortium have always insisted that the deal would eventually get done. They are confident the arbitration process will conclude with the takeover getting the green light.
The success of Manchester City, who are backed by the Abu Dhabi royal family, has generated a belief that a Saudi takeover would have a similar impact at Newcastle.
Sources close to the bid have always played that down. If PIF eventually get their target, the club would be expected to fund itself. There are no plans to inject huge amounts of cash to fund a splurge in the transfer market.
Newcastle’s future should be much clearer by the start of next season. For better or worse, the end of uncertainty cannot come quickly enough for Ashley and the supporters.
Of all the details mentioned above, the last line is probably one we can all agree on.
As much as we want this deal to go through – and it’s good to hear the Saudis remain confident – this tiring saga needs to be concluded one way or another ASAP.