Premier League hit back at Newcastle United takeover claims in battle of explosive statements
The Premier League say the club’s assertion they had rejected the takeover was ‘incorrect’ and said it could still proceed to the next stage ‘should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information’.
A Saudi Arabia-backed consortium led by financier Amanda Staveley withdrew its bid for the club in July over the Premier League’s failure to make a timely decision on its approval amid objections from beIN Sports and Amnesty International.
However, Staveley – and backers David and Simon Reuben – remained committed to the bid, and there were hopes on Tyneside that it could be resurrected amid background discussions.
Newcastle released a statement on Wednesday evening hitting out at the Premier League and chief executive Richard Masters while also confirming they were considering all options including legal action.
But the Premier League has now hit back.
A statement read: “The Premier League was disappointed and surprised by the Newcastle United Football Club statement regarding its potential takeover by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).
“The club’s assertion that the Premier League has rejected the takeover is incorrect.
“The Premier League Board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition. That opinion is based on legal advice.
“This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information. They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board. As an alternative, the Board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June.
“It is also incorrect to suggest these decisions were taken by any individual; they were agreed unanimously by all Premier League Board members.”
It comes after the statement by Newcastle on Wednesday evening, which read: “Newcastle United can confirm that the Premier League has rejected a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia based on its owners’ and directors’ test.
“This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government.
“The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them.
"Mike Ashley understands fans’ frustrations, and would like to reassure them that he has been fully committed to ensuring this takeover process reached completion as he felt it was in the best interests of the club.
"Mike continues to be fully supportive to Steve Bruce, the players and all the staff and wishes them well for the upcoming season.”
Newcastle start their Premier League campaign with a trip to West Ham United on Saturday evening (KO 8pm).