The Newcastle United takeover saga has taken an unexpected twist in the last 24 hours after the Saudi Arabian government took the decision to permanently ban the Premier League’s Qatar-based Middle East broadcast partner BeinSports from operating in the kingdom.
As we all know, the issue of piracy is the major factor being the takeover process being delayed, and still it is everyone’s guess what the outcome will be.
The potential owners – A Saudi-led consortium (PIF), Amanda Staveley and Reuben Brothers – are looking to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley for £300m, and a part-payment has already been made in advance.
However, the Premier League has taken 16 weeks to study the deal, and yet they couldn’t come to a conclusion. Just when it was thought that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was on the verge of taking control of St James’ Park, their latest measure has apparently thrown the takeover into further doubt.
According to reports from the Guardian, although the timing of the announcement came as a shock and unfortunate, sources close to the deal claim that the Newcastle deal should not be affected.
The report added: “Assorted sources were left puzzled at the timing; particularly after Saudi Arabia had issued a raft of new laws outlawing pirate transmissions of the Doha broadcaster’s Premier League output. Last month a World Trade Organization report said the Saudi state had facilitated the operations of the illegal, and now closed, beoutQ platform.”
BeINsports, who has a £500m deal with the Premier League that runs until 2022, has described the decision as non-sensical on every level. However, the Premier League has declined to comment on the matter.