Newcastle United takeover hits a 'significant' snag - with £300m Saudi deal under 'considerable pressure'

Newcastle United’s Saudi-led takeover has been hit by another ‘significant’ block – according to reports.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 12:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 12:57 pm

The deal, which is led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and backed by Amanda Staveley and the Reuben Brothers, is currently going through Premier League checks.

A £300m price tag has been agreed with Mike Ashley to purchase the club, but there is political opposition to the deal.

As reported by the Times, Giles Watling MP, a Conservative member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has called for the select committee to examine the Saudi-based piracy of Premier League football.

Newcastle United's takeover has hit a 'significant' snag

A number of groups – including BeIN Sports – have called for the takeover to be blocked given supposed Saudi links to piracy.

The objection from beIN relates to a long-running dispute over illegal broadcasts of Premier League games in Saudi Arabia, which has been the subject of previous litigation.

It’s claimed that pirate channel beoutQ has been transmitted by state-owned satellite provider Arabsat.

And Watling believes that an investigation is now ‘even more relevant’ given the impending takeover.

In an email, Watling wrote: “This investment fund is backed by the same entity that backs beoutQ – Saudi Arabia – and is particularly pressing as the government refused to comment on the takeover to the Committee recently.”

Meanwhile, the Times also claim that the Liberal Democrats plan to call for the takeover to be blocked.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden previously suggested that the government would not intervene in a deal, but the Times claim this latest political objection is a ‘significant’ snag in talks, with the deal now coming under ‘considerable pressure’.

The buying side, however, remain confident of securing a deal.

As reported by the Gazette earlier this week, the group believe that the deal will be signed-off in the near future.

That’s despite a hold-up in the Premier League approval process, caused in part by these piracy allegations and in part by the league’s desire to restart fixtures in the current coronavirus crisis.