In takeover news, the Newcastle Chronicle have today reported that the potential new owners of Newcastle United have NOT been alerted to any fresh complications surrounding the proposed £300m deal that will see Mike Ashley finally leave the club.
The takeover, which will see the Saudi Arabian PIF take a controlling 80% stake in the club, was agreed and sent to the Premier League for ratification last month. Since that became public knowledge, the league have been inundated with calls to block the takeover.
While the likes of Amnesty International wanted it blocked for moral reasons – an allegation of piracy from Qatari broadcasters BeIN Sports presented a more serious threat to the takeover – a fact which is damning of the state of the game in itself…
BeIN Sports claim that saudi broadcaster BeoutQ stole their intellectual property and were illegally streaming live Premier League football matches. Those allegations turned out to be true and BeoutQ was shut down last year. The issue at hand is whether or not the now closed broadcaster were run by Arabsat – the Saudi state run television network.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) have reportedly been looking into this and news broke via the Guardian yesterday that they have sent their findings to the Premier League – and their findings apparently say that BeoutQ was Saudi state run. If true, this could be a real threat to the takeover going ahead.
The owners & directors tests allows a potential new owner to be disqualified if they have committed a crime abroad that would also be a crime here. Also, they can disqualify hopeful owners for inaccurate and false information – which could be the clause they use to derail our takeover, if the PIF have denied their involvement in Arabsat and this document does indeed prove the state ran the network.
There’s been a number of other journalists downplaying the situation somewhat – with Ben Jacobs, ironically of BeIN Sports, arguing that the wording of the WTO inquest was actually to “rule on Saudi Arabia’s alleged failure to provide adequate protection of intellectual property rights.”
That’s not quite the same as deciding whether or not the Saudi state are involved in running BeoutQ and sanctioned the theft of IP, is it?
Either way, there is a lot of opposition to this deal and the latest reports from the Guardian last night have left a lot of fans very worried – but the Chronicle’s story today may just ease them slightly.
They say that the Premier League are “not believed” to have contacted the buyers with regards to any complications in the process. The report says that the checks are still in the latter stages and the buyers are still hopeful they will be given the green light soon. This is a snippet from the article directly related to the Guardian’s story:
“Fresh reports on Tuesday suggested that a 123-page document from the World Trade Organisation detailing links with the Saudia Arabia’s government and pirate service beoutQ came into play this month.
“But top-flight bosses have been well briefed of all the factors surrounding the bid from the get-go, and as reported by the Chronicle last week, no red flags have emerged from the relevant criteria of the owner’s and director’s test which is still ongoing.”
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on with the takeover exactly. There’s been nothing to say it’s not going to happen, but there’s not exactly anything to say it’s imminent either. It’s just a waiting game for us lot as fans – we’re just going to have to be patient.
If you want to read the full article from the Chronicle, you can find it here.