Richard Masters breaks silence on Newcastle United takeover

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has broken his silence on the Newcastle United takeover.

The relegation-threatened club is 80%-owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, following a £300million sale last month.

It took more than a year for the proposed deal to be approved due to concerns about the separation between the Saudi state and PIF. Masters was heavily criticised by United fans during the long process.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Masters said: “There is a corporate difference between the two, there is.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

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"That's what we were investigating – whether the Saudi state could control the club through the investment fund. We have received assurances that is not the case."

On allegations that Saudi Arabia wants to improve its image by “sportswashing” its record on human rights, Masters said: “The takeover has gone through, and we have to be comfortable that all the things we do at the Premier League will be preserved under the new ownership and the equality and diversity scheme will be preserved.

"You can't have one rule for one and one for another, and so Newcastle will be run on the right basis.

"PIF are an investor in many other companies in this country, and maybe football is being targeted and talked about in a different way. I can't choose who is chairing a football club. The owners test doesn't let us take a view on that."

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The remaining 20% of the club, which is 20th in the Premier League, is split between Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and Jamie Reuben’s RB Sports & Media.