Newcastle United takeover: Strongly-worded statement issued following CAT hearing
A Newcastle United fans group has reacted to takeover claims made at an anti-competition hearing.
Mike Ashley, the club’s owner, brought a case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) after the Premier League failed to approve a proposed takeover by a consortium which included Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) last year.
And a number of allegations were made by Daniel Jowell, the QC representing St James Holdings, at a jurisdiction hearing on Wednesday.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust yesterday issued a statement as fans wait for the three-man panel to decide whether the claim can proceed ahead of a separate week-long arbitration hearing which is scheduled to start on January 3.
It read: "(On Wednesday) a Competition Appeal Tribunal hearing heard Daniel Jowell QC set out that media organisation beIN Sports and ‘a number of major Premier League clubs joined in lobbying against the takeover deal’.
“That led to an ‘unfair application of rules’ and an ‘abuse of its position which distorted competition’.
"During the case, it was also revealed at arbitration in relation to the proposed takeover was set to take place on 3rd January 2022.
“Adam Lewis QC, representing the Premier League said ‘if the arbitration decides that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) would not be a director then the transaction can and will go ahead with no question of the owners’ and directors’ test applying to KSA’.
“January 2022 now becomes critical to the future of Newcastle United.
"It was on this topic that NUST engaged legal counsel to write to the Premier League in support of the takeover, (after 96.7% of our members stated they were in favour) setting out detailed legal analysis why there appeared to be no impediment to the takeover being approved under the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ test.
"There is no doubt that Newcastle United and Newcastle United supporters have been let down by the Premier League.
“In our view, the Premier League has proved it is not fit for purpose and not fit to govern itself.
"This ongoing dereliction of duty to the supporters of Newcastle United further emphasises the need for fundamental reform of football governance in the UK through primary legislation.”