Although it still hasn’t been finalised, it’s believed that the sale of Newcastle United from Mike Ashley to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment fund is on the verge of being completed successfully.
Given all of the opposition against the takeover, with reasons ranging from human rights abuses to the apparent control of beoutQ, a Saudi-backed service to allow football to be watched illegally, it’s hard to believe how the prospective new owners would pass a fit and proper persons test.
However, perhaps the apparent willingness to accede to any deal has something to do with the news that Saudi Arabia are going to bid for the next round of Premier League broadcasting rights.
The Daily Mirror note that beIN Sports’ £500million, three-year contract expires in 2022, and that the Middle East and North Africa broadcast deal is set to be renegotiated next year ahead of that.
It appears that the Saudis believe that they can outbid their Qatari counterparts, so any successful takeover of TV rights deals should have a huge financial benefit and knock-on effect for the Premier League.