The Newcastle United takeover statement made with the endorsement of buyer and Nick De Marco

The English Premier League are yet to have the St James Holdings Ltd anti-competition claim thrown out – and Newcastle United’s arbitration hearing is understood to have not yet begun, despite claims to the contrary.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 6:00 am
Newcastle United's English owner Mike Ashley (L) chats with director Lee Charnley (R) in the crowd ahead of the FA Cup fourth round replay football match between Oxford United and Newcastle United at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, west of London, on February 4, 2020.
Newcastle United's English owner Mike Ashley (L) chats with director Lee Charnley (R) in the crowd ahead of the FA Cup fourth round replay football match between Oxford United and Newcastle United at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, west of London, on February 4, 2020.

The Gazette understands the arbitration, referenced in an explosive club statement yesterday, is, as reported in Competition Appeal Tribunal papers, set to begin in July, with further delays to the process unlikely.

Speculation has been rife the hearing began earlier this week, with some outlets suggesting a June date. However, the hearing, it’s thought, is yet to kick off.

An exact July date, however, is not known.

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In their Thursday evening statement, United confirmed their want to have the arbitration played out away from confidentiality – insisting if the Premier League have nothing to hide, like them, then agree to public scrutiny.

“Unfortunately, the Club is unable to make any comment about the arbitration. The EPL Rules provide the entire arbitration process is confidential,” their statement read.

“However, both parties can agree for it to be in public. The Club believes it should be.”

It continued: “The Club has nothing to hide with respect to the arbitration and invites the EPL to agree that it should no longer be held behind closed doors. If the EPL has acted lawfully and properly, it should have no reason to be afraid of the public spotlight."

The statement also discussed St James Holdings Ltd CAT case, which fans patiently await an update on.

It read: “It (the English Premier League) is currently attempting to prevent the competition courts considering a claim by the Club’s sellers from taking place in public, arguing that too should be held in confidential arbitration.

“So the Club has invited the EPL to agree – as the claim raises such important issues of sports governance, transparency and openness – that it should be held in public. The Club is prepared for every stage of the process to be in public: the public should be able to see the parties’ evidence and arguments as well as the full decision of the Tribunal when it is made.”

The Premier League are yet to have the CAT case, likely to be played out in public court, dismissed, they are however attempting to have the process heard privately, potentially within their own legal rules and framework.

The United statement – which can be read in full here – is understood to have been backed by all interested parties, including the PCP Consortium and legal teams fighting on the club and Mike Ashley’s behalf.

One of Ashley’s QCs, Nick De Marco, took to Twitter to retweet the story of the club’s statement, published on Sky Sports’ website.

Support online also came from the buyers’ side with PCP Capital Partners’ director Mehrdad Ghodoussi tweeting: “Transparency is what all football fans deserve”, with a link to the United statement attached below it.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP and Reuben Brothers buyout of the football club stalled last summer when the Premier League refused to make a decision on the deal.