The Newcastle United takeover questions put to the Premier League
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Amanda Staveley last week told of her “heartbreak” after the consortium she led withdrew their bid, which had been submitted for apperoval in April, blaming a “prolonged” approval process. Sources close to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which was funding 80% of the deal, outlined what the takeover would have meant for the club and the city.
The takeover saw the club dragged into the geopolitical dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There were objections from Doha-based broadcaster beIN Sports over TV piracy in Saudi Arabia – and from Amnesty International and others over the kingdom’s human rights record amid accusations of “sportswashing”.
United fans have been demanding answers from the Premier League, and almost 60,000 supporters have signed an online petition calling for an “independent review” of the takeover process.
These are the questions we have submitted to the Premier League:
- Why did the PL not make a decision on the takeover in 16 weeks? And why couldn’t it, as has been claimed, give a timeframe for a decision?
- Can the PL explain why this process was so complicated – and why it took so long compared to previous takeovers?
- What were the main issues for this owners’ and directors’ test? And can the Premier League confirm whether or not TV piracy was the main sticking point?
- The buyers, we understand, passed on assurances from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government that there would be no state interference in the running of the club. Was this enough to satisfy the Premier League?
- What influence, if any, did beIN Sports and Qatar have over this process? Did any of the Premier League’s member clubs have an input?
- Is it right that the Premier League’s initial guidance to the buyers was that it saw no reason why the takeover would not be approved?
- What is the Premier League’s message to those fans who feel deeply let down by this process?
- Has the Premier League been formally informed of the bid’s withdrawal? If the consortium’s bid is resubmitted, would the test have to start all over again?