Premier League CEO Richard Masters breaks his silence on the Newcastle United takeover

Premier League CEO Richard Masters has broken his silence on the Newcastle United takeover – having penned a detailed letter to MP Chi Onwurah.

Friday, 14th August 2020, 3:25 pm
Richard Masters

Onwurah was one of a number of members of parliament who wrote to the Premier League to express the concerns of their constituents following the collapse of the £300million Saudi-backed deal.

It was announced last month that the investment group – including Amanda Staveley, the Reuben Brothers and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund – had backed away from talks. A deal is not yet completely off the table, though.

The Premier League have remained silent throughout the process, but Masters has now offered his version of events of a process that lasted 17 weeks.

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Below are some of the key answers given by the top flight CEO to questions posed by Onwurah – which were published in a letter on her website today:

The length of the test – and ‘the dispute’

One of the key areas of concern has been the fact that the process, which took 17 weeks, failed to yield an outcome on the side of the Premier League.

In response to this, Masters said: “There are no timescales prescribed by the Rules in relation to the Owners’ and Directors Test and they generally take considerably longer than a month to complete.”

Speaking further about the process, Masters said: “In June, the Premier League Board made a clear determination as to which entities it believed would have control over the Club following the proposed acquisition, in accordance with Premier League Rules.

"Subsequently, the Premier League then asked each such person or entity to provide the Premier League with additional information, which then would have been used to consider the assessment of any possible disqualifying events.

"In this matter, the consortium disagreed with the Premier League’s determination that one entity would fall within the criteria requiring the provision of this information.

"The Premier League recognised the dispute, and offered the consortium the ability to have the matter decided by an independent arbitral tribunal if they wished to challenge the conclusion of the Board.

"The consortium chose not to take up that offer, but nor did it procure the provision of the additional information.”

He went on to confirm that this meant there was never any point at which the Premier League Board was asked to make an assessment on the suitability of the buying party.

Other key points

Other key claims made by Masters in his letter include:

- The Premier League did not consider any disputes regarding intellectual property of television rights as they did not get to the point where disqualifying events were considered.

- Other clubs had ‘no role’ in the process – after claims of opposition to the bid from some Premier League sides.

- The Premier League is ‘reviewing' the Owners’ and Directors Test in the coming months.

The response

After receiving the letter, Onwurah tweeted: “Pleased to have received a response from @premierleague to my questions on #nufctakeover.

"It acknowledges importance of fans & provides some new info but not the reassurance or transparency I know fans want.”

The Newcastle United supporters’ trust added: “This afternoon we received an email from @premierleague Chief Executive Richard Masters detailing his response to @ChiOnwurah. We will digest the letter and update members further in an email later today.”