Revealed! Premier League issue Newcastle United takeover response to NCSL legal challenge

The English Premier League have issued a nine-page, ‘substantive’ Newcastle United takeover response to a fan group anti-competition legal challenge.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 1:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 1:03 pm

And the Gazette can reveal Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd – the group pushing the challenge – have reiterated their pledge to plough on towards court action.

Having requested a further 14 days to reply, the league have now sent legal documents, via solicitors, to NCSL, outlining their position on the group’s Letter Before Action.

NCSL’s Letter Before Action, hand delivered to the Premier League three weeks ago, questioned the body’s conduct in the owners’ and directors’ test, started after PCP Capital Partners, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and Reuben Brothers agreed a fee to buy the club – in the region of £300 million – with owner Mike Ashley.

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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: General View prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on October 17, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

The original letter highlighted what the group and their legal team believe to be anti-competitive behaviour against Newcastle United in the protracted Premier League tests. It also revealed the group are seeking disclosure of certain documents relating to the Newcastle United takeover, which would shed light on whether any UK anti-competition law breaches have taken place.

Top UK anti-competition QC Robert O’Donoghue is leading up NCSL’s legal team, with the claimants – namely Keith Patterson and Gordon Stein – chasing a Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) hearing.

In a tweet confirming the receipt of the Premier League response, @NCSL1892 said: “We’ve received the EPL’s ‘substantive’ 9-page response. Its now with our competition team led by Robert O’Donoghue, QC. We’ll announce our next move in our determination to progress this matter. Stand together as fans for answers! UNITED we remain.”

A fortnight ago the Premier League requested an extra 14 days to respond to NCSL’s Letter Before Action – a view the group rejected in subsequent correspondence with the league.

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