The club has been sold for £300million to a group which includes Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
However, the proposed deal is subject to Premier League approval, and there have been objections from Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports as well as Amnesty International and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the journalist who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
The World Trade Organisation yesterday published its findings after investigating Qatari allegations of TV piracy in Saudi Arabia.
Its report drew a link between “individuals or entities” under the jurisdiction the Saudi state and beoutQ, a pirate TV station which has illegally broadcast Premier League games and other sporting events in the kingdom.
And the findings have put more pressure on the Premier League, which has previously tried to shut down beoutQ.
Henry Mauriss, chief executive of ClearTV, has now bid for the club, according to BBC Sport. Mauriss is now waiting to see if the proposed takeover, which was lodged with the Premier League in April, falls through.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters yesterday reiterated the organisation’s position on piracy in an interview with Sky Sports.
“We take piracy very seriously,” said Masters. “We stand by what we said in the past.”
Masters, however, would not give an update on the takeover, which is subject to the organisation’s owners’ and directors’ test.
“In relation to takeovers, I can’t say anything about the substance or timing,” said Masters, who succeeded Richard Scudamore in the post.
Meanwhile, on Tyneside there is growing impatience at the time it is taking for the Premier League to consider the Saudi-backed takeover which is being led by financier Amanda Staveley. Billionaire property investors David and Simon Reuben – who have investments on Tyneside – will take a 10% stake in the club if the bid is successful.