The latest in a long line of Newcastle United takeover deadlines nears

The latest in a long line of Newcastle United takeover deadlines is drawing closer.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:51 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Aa general view of St James' Park during its first game back with fans during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on May 19, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Aa general view of St James' Park during its first game back with fans during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sheffield United at St. James Park on May 19, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The English Premier League have until 5pm this evening to submit evidence in the St James Holdings Ltd Competition Appeal Tribunal case brought against them by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley

The top flight are challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the anti-competition claim, brought forward by Ashley and Newcastle United. They are also pushing, we’re told, to ensure the hearing, if it goes ahead, will be heard in private, away from the public eye.

Early soundings from legal sources, as reported by the Gazette, were that the Premier League would fail in their attempts to have the case thrown out, which is thought to be the primary objective of their challenge.

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Documents released earlier this month revealed the Premier League were granted a further seven days to submit evidence to the court. This was granted by the Hon Mr Justice Roth on July 5.

In the ‘reasons’ section of the court document, Roth states: “I am satisfied that the requested short extension of seven days will not prejudice the listing of the hearing of the Jurisdiction Application and is reasonable given the concurrent demands on the Defendant in preparing for the arbitration proceedings.”

Through the challenge, Ashley is thought to not only be attempting to push through the stalled Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers deal, but is also seeking damages from the Premier League due to the prolonged, delayed nature of the process.

Meanwhile, in a Law Gazette article published in March 2020, Roth shines a light on his own stance on confidentiality in such cases.

In his judgment in the case ‘Infederation Ltd v Google LLC & Ors’, Roth warned of the limits of confidentiality and the concerning rise of requests to keep things private.

He said there was an increasing tendency for excessive confidentiality claims to be asserted over information in competition law proceedings.

"This is wasteful of time and costs, and it is not the way modern litigation should be conducted,” he said.

“Just as solicitors will not unquestioningly accept their client’s view as to which documents are relevant for disclosure, I consider that they should not necessarily be satisfied by their client’s view that open inspection of a document should be restricted on confidentiality grounds.

"Solicitors should advise their client as to the proper limits of confidentiality.”

This month Newcastle United and Ashley’s arbitration case against the Premier League is set to begin – although, no definitive hearing date has been revealed.

Ashley remains hopeful this summer will see significant progress on the Newcastle United takeover front, although fans remain rightly sceptical, especially with the new Premier League season just a month away.

Last weekend, PCP Capital Partners director Mehrdad Ghodoussi thanked fans for their support.

"Amanda and I are truly grateful for everything you have done and everything you continue to do for the club, for us and to get this takeover over the line, we really appreciate it,” he said in a video on NUFC Matters YouTube.

"We are truly grateful.”