Newcastle United takeover hopes lifted by Saudi move

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has pledged to tackle TV piracy ahead of a Premier League decision on the Newcastle United takeover.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 7:30 am

The World Trade Organisation last week drew a link between “individuals or entities” under the jurisdiction Saudi Arabia and beoutQ, a pirate TV station which has illegally broadcast Premier League games and other sporting events in the kingdom

And there are fears on Tyneside that the Premier League will reject a proposed £300million takeover, which is 80% funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, due to piracy in the kingdom.

However, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has vowed to “block 231 websites that violate intellectual property regimes”.

St James's Park.

And the SAFF has written to the Premier League and other sporting bodies also pledging action in what is seen as a significant move ahead of a decision from the Premier League, which has also received objections from Amnesty International and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

The BBC report that SAFF president Yasser Hassan Almisehal has told UEFA that “sporting rights are the lifeblood, which feed the future not just of elite clubs, but of the entire sporting pyramid.

“With our sporting ambition comes a responsibility to help (fight) piracy and as a nation we already have the rigorous governance framework to do just that."

Saudi Arabia, involved in a geopolitical dispute with Qatar, has blocked the signal of Premier League rights-holder beIN Sports.

The Doha-based broadcaster has objected to the deal.