Exclusive: Richard Masters and Gary Hoffman Premier League exit eyed by Newcastle United and Premier League 'other 14'
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It is understood the Magpies, along with 13 other clubs outside of the 'big six European Super League breakaway, are not only united in their want for repercussions to befall the six, but also accountability from those believed to have been sympathetic to, if not complicit, in the development of these plans.
And while calls for executive changes at Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and today's opponents Liverpool have been mentioned, as well as other sanctions, Premier League chairman Gary Hoffman and chief executive Richard Masters are also under scrutiny.
Questions are being asked about just how much the duo, both supposedly vetted by top six board members prior to appointment, really knew about ESL plans.
Pre-meetings, before Premier League shareholder ones, were said to be commonplace, something which has angered the 'other 14' who were often made to feel like outcasts despite being in the majority.
Owners of Everton, Sheffield United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace have spoken out about the failed ESL plans with Steve Parish, Eagles' chairman, calling the move an ‘an attempted coup’ employed to ‘steal football’.
It is understood there is a real new-found ‘togetherness’ and ‘resolve’ among the 14 sides not involved in the ESL in the Premier League, something forged in disgust at the actions of the other six.
Questions have also been raised about how much Masters and Hoffman, only appointed last June, coincidentally when the first Newcastle United takeover 'red flags' appeared, knew about and encouraged the self-proclaimed big six's Project Big Picture.
This plan, championed by Rick Parry, would have seen the top flight vote majority switched into the agitators' favour, among other reforms.
Reports claim Hoffman was given a copy of the ‘Big Picture’ plans a week before they leaked – and is said to have emailed the top six in positive terms about them. Importantly, the other 14 clubs were not thought to have been told.
Hoffman and Masters are well known to Newcastle United fans due to their involvement in the Magpies' stalled Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers bid to take over the club from 14-year incumbent Mike Ashley.
When asked about the failed deal last summer and whether the Premier League should shoulder the blame, as suggested by the PCP Consortium, Masters said: "I don't accept that criticism. We are dealing with a complex situation. We dealt with the questions before us in the correct way."
When asked whether the big six were involved in lobbying against the Saudi-led deal, Masters said: "No. The owners' and directors' test is the responsibility of the board, not anyone else. And it is a very significant responsibility."
PCP Capital Partners' Amanda Staveley, after the group stepped back from the takeover, pointed the finger at Liverpool and Spurs for opposing the deal.
She said: "We know that other clubs briefed heavily against us. Because they were jealous."