Newcastle takeover: Saudi Arabia-backed bid expected to go through - reports
The Middle Eastern nation reversed a ban on Qatari-owned channel beIN SPORTS, which had been a stumbling block in achieving Premier League clearance for the controversial takeover bid. Discussions over the sale of Newcastle have been drawn out over an 18-month period, but The Athletic now suggests that after the reversal the takeover could now be completed.
General view outside the stadium as fans arrive prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton FC at St. James Park on December 28, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
The Saudi Arabia-backed takeover bid of Newcastle United could be set for Premier League approval.
The takeover had failed to be approved by the league due to concerns over the lack of separation between the Saudi state and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), who, it was proposed, would own 80% of the club.
However a stumbling block in discussions was the blocking of the Qatari-owned channel beIN SPORTS in Saudi Arabia, a ban that has now been lifted.
The takeover is the subject of a legal dispute that is set for an arbitration hearing in January.
A consortium had been assembled to buy the club from Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct who has run Newcastle for the past 14 years.
It also includes long-term suitor and private equity investor Amanda Staveley, as well as David and Simon Reuben, property investors who, as of 2020, were part of the United Kingdom's second-richest family.
Petrostate involvement in the purchasing of football clubs is not new - both Manchester City (United Arab Emirates) and Paris Saint-Germain (Qatar) are owned.
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Despite the controversial nature of the PIF's role in the bid, a recent survey by the Newcastle United Supporters' Trust found that 93.8% of its members were in favour of the takeover.
Ashley has been one of the English top-flight's least popular owners since purchasing the club in 2007.