The Premier League's response to Saudi offer over Newcastle United takeover

Saudi Arabian businessmen offered a substantial sum to the Premier League for the rights to screen matches in the kingdom in a bid to solve the piracy issue which it was feared could derail the Newcastle United takeover, the PA news agency has learned.

St James's Park.
St James's Park.

The Public Investment Fund, which was set to take an 80% in the club until the consortium it was part of withdrew its offer on Thursday, is understood to have assembled a group of private businessmen from the country to put together an offer to take on the national rights for the league.

Qatar-based beIN Sports is the Premier League rights-holder for the Middle East and North Africa region, including Saudi Arabia.

However, the Saudis argued that because beIN’s licence to broadcast in the kingdom had been cancelled, it could not be considered a legitimate broadcaster there.

PA understand that the Premier League dismissed the offer out of hand.

The Premier League declined to comment, as it has throughout the takeover process.

The offer to pay to broadcast matches in Saudi Arabia came after the pirate broadcaster beoutQ illegally screened a huge variety of sporting events, including Premier League games.

A report by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in June drew a link between “individuals or entities” under the jurisdiction the Saudi state and beoutQ, a pirate TV station which has illegally broadcast Premier League games.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia appealed against the findings of the WTO report.