New timescale for Newcastle United takeover decision

Newcastle United fans could have to wait even longer for a takeover decision.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 4:28 pm

A £300million deal has been with the Premier League for more than two months for its owners’ and directors’ test amid an objection from Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports.

The proposed takeover is 80% funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), and the Sun report that there may not be a “definitive” verdict from the league until the publication of a World Trade Organisation report, which is expected in the next fortnight, into Qatari claims piracy in the kingdom.

PIF’s funding of the takeover has seemingly dragged Newcastle in a geopolitical dispute, with the two countries have been at loggerheads since 2017, when Qatar was accused of supporting terrorism.

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St James's Park.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters refused to be drawn on the process in an interview with BBC Sport last month.

“It’s an entirely confidential process, and I can’t say anything to prejudice that process.

"Our owners and directors test is what it is – it’s there for everyone to see. We’ll be talking about this on a confidential basis when we get to these issues."

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has also objected to the takeover on moral and ethical grounds.

Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018, and Cengiz said: "I'm cautiously optimistic the Premier League will make the right decision.

"I'm sure that if the Premier League follows its own rules and charter, especially the owners' and directors' test, it will block the sale of Newcastle United to (Saudi Crown Prince) Mohamed bin Salman and the Public Investment Fund he chairs.

"Until Bin Salman is held accountable for his role in Jamal's brutal murder, everyone must refrain from doing any business with him."

Meanwhile, Newcastle are set to restart their season with a behind-closed-doors home game against Sheffield United on June 21.