Newcastle United owner Ashley, trying to resurrect a £300million sale of the club to a consortium led by Staveley, this week called for the forthcoming arbitration hearing to be made public.
And Staveley has echoed his call in an open letter written to Tracey Crouch MP, who is leading a Government review of football governance.
Here, we print the letter in full:
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Dear Ms Crouch,
I am writing to you, given PCP Capital Partners’ well-publicised interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.
In order to demonstrate our commitment to keeping the Newcastle fans as informed as we can, I write this to you as an open letter.
We were very pleased to see the Government’s announcement a few months ago that there is going to be a detailed review into the governance of football, led by you. Fans across the country will be hugely grateful that the issues should finally be addressed.
A closely guarded lack of transparency from those responsible for the regulation of football does not generally promote good governance. In particular the use of arbitration to resolve disputes within football raises an effective shield against public scrutiny – and one might justifiably ask why that model is so favoured by those responsible for regulating the sport if they have nothing to hide.
You may have seen NUFC’s press announcement from Thursday. Fans surely deserve absolute transparency from the regulators across all their processes - to best ensure that they act responsibly. They are performing a function like that of a Government regulator – but without the same systems for accountability.
This is very much a chance for those involved to be seen to take a robust stance – just as the Government so decisively and effectively stepped into the European Super League debacle.
But there is real urgency given the NUFC arbitration hearing is due to take place this month. We need intervention immediately to force the issue out into the open. It is my view that it is likely that that would be enough to make those involved behave more responsibly and signal the Government’s intention to take effective action in the interests of the country.
I look forward to hearing from you.