What sources are saying about Newcastle United takeover in Saudi Arabia
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The club is 90 minutes from a first FA Cup semi-final in 15 years, but Sunday’s game against Manchester City is only part of the story, as there could be a far bigger development off the pitch in the coming days.
It’s decision time for the Premier League, which has been considering a proposed £300million takeover of the club since April.
The deal ran into difficulties because of TV piracy in Saudi Arabia, where 80% of the funding is coming from. There were also accusations of “sportswashing” from Amnesty International.
Significantly, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property pledged to a crackdown on piracy in the wake of last week’s critical World Trade Organisation report, which was instigated by neighbours Qatar.
Doha-based beIN Sports, previously blocked because of a geopolitical dispute with Qatar, can now be watched freely in the kingdom, where its signal had been pirated by beoutQ, the channel the Premier League has tried to get shut down.
This takeover has seemingly brought the country into line on the issue of piracy, and Saudi Arabia could now bid for future Premier League rights in the region.
Has the Premier League now got the concessions and assurances it needs to approve the deal? Sources in Saudi Arabia believe it has, and there’s confidence in the kingdom that the deal will be approved in the coming days.
There’s still caution on Tyneside after weeks of apparent setbacks, but fans, it seems, won’t have to wait too much longer for a decision.