Explained: the Premier League's letter about Newcastle's failed takeover

Paola Ditto
Agosto 16, 2020

The PIF was set to provide an 80% stake in the takeover bid and determining where Bin Salman's power began and ended proved an issue for the Premier League.

But Mike Ashley has worked hard behind the scenes to get the takeover bid back on track.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters commented publicly about the aborted takeover for the first time in a letter to a British lawmaker, a copy of which was published on Twitter on Friday.

Masters' response explained that the Premier League asked each party involved to provide more information regarding the conditions of the takeover, before saying: "In this matter, the consortium disagreed with the Premier League's determination that one entity would fall within the criteria requiring the provision of the information".

The consortium which withdrew its bid to buy English club Newcastle declined an offer of independent arbitration into the long-running case after a request for additional information from the Premier League, according to the head of the competition.

The deal was still being scrutinised under the Premier League's owners' and directors' test.

"The Premier League recognized this dispute, and offered the consortium the ability to have the matter determined by an independent arbitral tribunal if it wished to challenge the conclusion of the board", Masters wrote.

When ending its bid four months after agreeing a deal in April, the consortium said: "Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club's owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained". The assassination and dismemberment of Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in late 2018 has been linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees the fund, by Western intelligence services and USA lawmakers.

In addition, a growing number of MPs have backed calls for clarity over a proposed sale which has also raised concerns over Saudi Arabia's human rights record amid accusations of "sportswashing", and alleged TV piracy.

'This meant there was never any point where the Premier League Board was asked to make an assessment on the suitability of all members of the consortium.

He added: "The owners' and directors' test is delegated to and carried out entirely by the Premier League board".

In his letter to the Newcastle Central MP, Masters wrote: "I fully appreciate that the issue of a potential change in the ownership of Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC) is of great importance to you, as the MP for the area and as a fan, as it is to NUFC's entire fanbase, and I would like to deal directly with the questions you raise".

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