Newcastle United fans given takeover hope – at last
Positivity has been in short supply at Newcastle United this season – on and off the pitch.
The club is winless in the Premier League, and the mood on Tyneside has darkened ahead of what’s certain to be a long winter on the pitch.
Steve Bruce’s team has seemingly taken a step backwards over the past seven games.
Yet things, finally, could be moving forwards on the takeover front. Saudi Arabia is set to unblock beIN Sports, the Premier League’s rights-holder for the Middle East North Africa region.
The Qatari broadcaster last year objected to a £300million sale to a consortium which included the Gulf kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. This lobbying was highlighted at a Competition Appeal Tribunal hearing last week.
"At the time Premier League was reaching its decision, beIN was in the midst of negotiations with Premier League for another three-year rights deal,” said St James Holdings QC Daniel Jowell. "It was very publicly reported at the time that beIN media group actively lobbied the Premier League against the takeover of Newcastle."
The main issue is the separation between the Saudi state and the Public Investment Fund, but, unquestionably, piracy was an issue. After all, how could a Premier League club be 80%-owned by sovereign wealth fund from a country which blocks the signal of the rights-holding broadcaster for that territory?
So, clearly, the Saudi move is significant, and its significance hasn’t been lost on a fanbase which has long waited for something positive to happen in terms of their club’s ownership.
It’s not time for #cans yet, but that day just might be a little closer.