Mike Ashley is ‘optimistic’ that the ongoing Saudi takeover saga will reach a positive resolution soon, according to The Chronicle.
Mark Douglas’ piece also reveals that the NUFC owner has been eager to go public when it comes to his confidence behind the legal case – a tactic to apply early pressure or clear sign he’s expecting to win his court battle against the Premier League?
All eyes point July as the start date for arbitration, with papers released by the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) confirming July to be the beginning of the end for this saga.
Douglas admits that Ashley’s new-found faith could be a way of him flexing his muscles against the Premier League, however it seems they remain firmly behind their own case.
Here’s a snippet from his latest piece for The Chronicle as we enter a crucial month for the Saudi saga:
‘July’ is scheduled to be ‘moving month’ for a club in stasis. Twin legal actions – first an eagerly anticipated arbitration hearing before an anti-competition case which could stretch into next year and beyond – will finally begin to turn the cogs of a situation that desperately needs to be resolved.
‘Ashley, privately, is optimistic about the resolution and has let that be known publicly too.
‘Whether that, in itself, is intended as another tactic to pressure the Premier League into a compromise (which is the favoured solution of the consortium) which would allow the Owners and Directors test to start is unclear, but details of the case – right down to the start date of arbitration – will not emerge until we have an answer on whether the league’s lawyers applied rules correctly last summer.
‘Last summer there was a tsunami of phone calls for the proposed owners to deal with when it came to players interested in signing. This year there has been less but plans remain in place which – backed by the considerable funds the consortium would bring to the table – could be put into place quickly and in time for any new campaign.
‘But that remains nothing more than a tantalising prospect until the legal action gets underway. And it is not the first time that those close to the deal have retained belief a deal could be weeks away.’
The consortium are believed to favour an out-of-court settlement, something that has not been seen as a likely possibility so far.
Ashley and the buying side’s battle is reaching its conclusion and at least it seems we will know one way or another before the start of the new campaign.
Luckily for the majority of Toon fans, we can be heavily distracted by England’s fortunes at the Euros before becoming totally engrossed in this wrangle – like we all were this time last year!