Here's how PIF's takeover of Newcastle United could have still been approved even with new fan-led review proposals in place

The £300million takeover of Newcastle United could still have gone through even with more strict independent regulators in place – fan-led review chair Tracey Crouch has suggested.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 6:00 am

Despite well-publicised opposition from the likes of BeIN Sports and several Premier League clubs, the takeover of Newcastle by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media consortium was finally completed back in October.

Since then, a groundbreaking fan-led review of football governance has been published which includes proposals for an independent regulator to establish a new owners’ and directors’ test.

The goal of the proposal is to prevent undesirable owners taking charge of football clubs in England.

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Chairman of Newcastle United, Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Amanda Staveley, Part-Owner of Newcastle United smile as they are introduced to the fans prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on October 17, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Committee member, MP John Nicolson described the Saudi regime as ‘monstrous’ and suggested that the newly proposed tests would have ‘presumably’ blocked Newcastle takeover had they been in place.

However the fan-led review chair hinted that the takeover could have still gone through due to the legal separation assurances between PIF and the Saudi state.

“Well it's a fund [not a country],” Crouch responded. “I haven’t seen all the details of the Newcastle takeover bid so it’s difficult for me to know but my understanding is that the Premier League received assurances of a legal separation between the state of Saudi Arabia and the fund.

“In terms of the integrity test and the good character test, we haven't just made this up. This already exists in the banking, security and insurance sector as a test. It is a test that is applied in other regulated environments that we think we can apply in terms of football as well.”

The statue of Sir Bobby Robson, former manager of Newcastle United outside St. James's Park (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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The tests recommended by the fan-led review have been publicly opposed by the likes of Aston Villa, Leeds United and West Ham United while other Premier League clubs are in support.

“This is part of the challenge,” Crouch added.

“The Premier League has 20 shareholders. I know for sure that some clubs are in favour of an independent regulator underpinned by legislation.

“I know there are clubs that are not in favour of an independent regulator full stop, and that there are some clubs that are in favour of an independent regulator, but not underpinned by statutory legislation.

“So the Premier League has to take a corporate view on some of these issues.”

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