The World Trade Organisation has released a statement today where they have stated that Saudi Arabia was behind a pirate satellite TV and streaming service that illegally broadcast sporting events.
Piracy is a serious concern and it remains to be seen how it affects the Premier League’s decision on the proposed Newcastle United takeover.
The 125-page WTO decision has clearly pointed out that there is comprehensive evidence that the illegal beoutQ service was promoted and supported by the Saudi government.
Although there was no reference of PIF or Newcastle United in their report, the latest report could have huge bearings on the takeover.
The Financial Times editor, Murad Ahmed has tweeted:
Breaking: The £300m Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle United football club faces new scrutiny after World Trade Organization rules it is responsible for television piracy including the improper screening of English Premier League matches. @FT story to come shortly.
— Murad Ahmed (@muradahmed) June 16, 2020
As a result, the takeover now faces renewed scrutiny from the Premier League.
According to reports from the Financial Times, Qatar had brought the WTO case, arguing beoutQ was streaming content rightfully owned by beIN Sports, a Doha-based broadcaster that has paid billions of dollars for exclusive rights to major sporting events.
Bin Salman, who is Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and the chairman of the Public Investment Fund, is trying to buy an 80% stake in Newcastle – with PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben brothers, David and Simon, taking the remaining 20%.
The Premier League have consulted with the potential new owners regarding matters of piracy. The final decision now rests in the hands of the Premier League.