Exclusive: Newcastle United FC top flight legal action officially confirmed via astonishing Premier League fan letter admission

The English Premier League have astonishingly confirmed Newcastle United are in a live legal action against the Premier League in a letter to fans.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 5:00 pm

The Gazette can exclusively reveal the Premier League, in a letter to Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd, have officially confirmed Newcastle United are in legal dispute with the governing body with regards the stalled Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners buyout of the football club.

While the legal action by Ashley and his prominent Blackstone Chambers QCs Nick De Marco and Shaheed Fatima has been widely speculated on, it has never been confirmed by the club itself, nor by the Premier League - until now.

And according to sources, that represents an alleged breach of Newcastle United's confidentiality on behalf of the Premier League, with both said to be bound by privacy on the matter now that the case is actually running.

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The confirmation is understood to have angered many close to the deal.

In an official statement, NCSL confirmed to the Gazette: "The Newcastle Consortium Supporters has received a reply from the EPL’s lawyers, Bird & Bird that has confirmed that the club is currently in a legal dispute with the EPL regarding the proposed acquisition, which may lead to a duplication of the issues raised by the fans consortium. The EPL have said it would therefore be premature for us to bring our claim now. However, the EPL have not said who is to determine these proceedings, nor when they will be determined. We, the fans, feel we have a right to know and to be kept informed."

When contacted by the Gazette, the Premier League issued a ‘no comment’ response.

In September, Blackstone Chambers issued a statement revealing they would be acting for the club and Ashley, its owner, in the dispute. The statement was later withdrawn.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Mike Ashley, Newcastle United owner is seen in the stands prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion at St. James Park on October 20, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The statement read: “Shaheed Fatima QC and Nick De Marco QC are acting for Newcastle United FC and Mike Ashley (instructed by Dentons) in a dispute with the Premier League about its rejection of a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia based on its Owners and Directors test.”

It is understood when this statement was released the case was not active. The Premier League have confirmed today that it is.

A club statement on the matter, dated September 9, said: “The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them.

“Mike Ashley understands fans’ frustrations and would like to reassure them that he has been fully committed to ensuring this takeover process reached completion as he felt it was in the best interests of the club."

The Premier League confirmation, whatever the legality, represents a big step forward in the legal case with TWO actions now running against the top flight on the issue of the stalled Saudi-financed deal. Buyer, seller and NCSL are believed to be united in their quest to push the Premier League for transparency and ultimately a decision on the deal.

The EPL today issued a nine-page, 'substantive' Newcastle United takeover response to NCSL's anti-competition law legal claims.

In a tweet confirming the receipt of the Premier League response, @NCSL1892 said: “We’ve received the EPL’s ‘substantive’ 9-page response. Its now with our competition team led by Robert O’Donoghue, QC. We’ll announce our next move in our determination to progress this matter. Stand together as fans for answers! UNITED we remain.”

It is understood NCSL have reiterated their pledge to plough on towards court action.

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