Premier League issue Gary Hoffman statement amid Newcastle United takeover backlash
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A number of clubs are understood to be unhappy at the £300million sale to a consortium which includes Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) has taken an 80% stake in the relegation-threatened club.
And Hoffman, appointed to the role in April last year, will step down in January.
In a statement, Hoffman said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Premier League through the last two seasons – when the spirit of English football has been more important than ever. Now, I have decided the time is right for me to stand aside to allow new leadership to steer the league through its next exciting phase.”
A league statement added: “The Premier League is grateful to Gary for his committed service. He has led the league during the most challenging period in its history, and leaves it in a stronger position than ever.
“The process of appointing a new chair will begin immediately.”
Concerns about the takeover were reportedly raised at a meeting last month.
The league said it was satisfied it had legally binding assurances from PIF that the Saudi state would not have control over the club, despite the fund being chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
And the takeover led to 18 clubs – excluding Newcastle and Premier League champions Manchester City – backing a motion to place a temporary ban on owner-related sponsorship deals being done.