Full details of the anti-competition case taken on by Newcastle United and Mike Ashley documented in court papers
Full details of the anti-competition case taken on by Newcastle United and Mike Ashley are documented in court papers, following the latest dramatic twist in the ongoing takeover saga.
On Thursday evening, the Gazette exclusively revealed the club and Ashley are looking to take the top flight to court for what they believe to be anti-competitive behaviour in their Saudi takeover decision-making process.
And in a fresh takeover twist, it was revealed the Magpies have adopted the anti-competition case presented to them by Newcastle Consortium Supporters Limited, which was launched as a privately-financed fan venture in autumn 2020.
Newcastle United and Mike Ashley launch NEW Premier League legal challenge in bid to force through Saudi takeover
It is understood the Premier League were this week served with fresh case legal papers, as Ashley looks to force the top flight to wave through the PCP Consortium deal, agreed 13 months ago.
The St James' Holdings vs the FA Premier League claim – submitted to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) - alleges the Premier League were in infringement of articles 101 and 102 of the Competition Act 1998.
The CAT is a specialist judicial body which hears and decides cases involving competition or economic regulatory issues.
This is what the court documents state: "The Claim states that the Defendant exercised its power to block the Proposed Takeover when it decided between June and September 2020 that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be a director exercising “control” over NUFC, for the purposes of the Rules (“the Director Decision”).
"In reaching the Director Decision, the Defendant failed to apply the Rules in a fair, objective and non-discriminatory fashion and/or used its powers under the Rules for the improper purpose of promoting its own commercial interests and/or the interests of its business associates and/or certain of the PL member-clubs in a manner that was detrimental to competition and consumers.”
In the legal papers, the claim also alleges: “As a result of the breaches by the Defendant, the Claimant has suffered loss and damage. In particular, the Claimant has lost the immediate sale, or lost the likely opportunity of an immediate sale of its shares in NUL (which owns NUFC) to the Consortium Company.”
The papers also reveal what St James' Holdings are seeking: “(1) Damages for loss of profit or, alternatively, loss of opportunity. (2) An injunction requiring the Defendant to withdraw the Director Decision and/or to reconsider the same. (3) Interest. (4) Costs. (5) Such further or other relief as the Tribunal considers appropriate.”
The Premier League are yet to comment publicly on the development.
This is a separate challenge to the one which sees Nick De Marco and Shaheed Fatima's battle with Premier League representatives Bird and Bird played out
in a private arbitration, set to challenge the application of the owners' and directors' test with regards the separation of the Saudi state and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.