The Premier League MUST now act on Newcastle United takeover

It’s decision time now. The Premier League must now make a decision on the Newcastle United takeover – and quickly.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 12:43 pm

This has gone on long enough.

The Premier League now has all the information that it needs to make a decision on the £300million deal that was agreed in early April.

Yesterday’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) report into piracy in Saudi Arabia wasn’t good for the kingdom, despite the spin coming out of Riyadh.

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Amanda Staveley.

In its findings, the WTO drew a link between “individuals or entities” under the jurisdiction of the Saudi state and beoutQ, a pirate TV station which has illegally broadcast Premier League games and other sporting events.

The proposed takeover is being 80% funded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the state’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and that has made it awkward for the Premier League given its previous efforts to shut down piracy in Saudi Arabia, where the signal of rights-holding broadcaster beIN Sports is blocked.

Yet, the report, damaging as it was, isn’t so damaging that it will force the Premier League to reject the takeover.

The takeover, which is also opposed by Amnesty International, also presents the Premier League with the opportunity to address the issue of beoutQ, and piracy in the kingdom, once and for all. It’s an opportunity to bring the Saudis into the fold.

And the takeover now seemingly hinges on the conversations which have taken place over recent weeks. Have the Premier League got the answers and assurances they want? We should soon find out.

There’s a weariness and tetchiness on Tyneside after more than two months of waiting.

Today’s news of a £350million bid from American businessman Henry Mauriss was greeted with scepticism given the timing and price, which is £50million higher than that agreed by financier Amanda Staveley.

Mauriss is said to be waiting to see if the Saudi-backed bid fails. It could indeed yet fail, but the Premier League has seemingly been given enough leeway to pass the deal.

United fans want this whole saga to end, and surely the Premier League will be just as keen to draw a line under it and move on.