It’s dragged on for an age, but the takeover at Newcastle United could be on the verge of being concluded successfully after the government appeared to confirm that it wouldn’t intervene.
The Daily Mail cite a letter they have seen, sent from trade secretary Liz Truss, which sets out to the chair of the International Trade Select Committee, Angus MacNeil, that the government consider the proposed £300m takeover ‘a commercial matter for those parties and the Premier League… it is not for the government to intervene in the buying and selling of football clubs.’
Mike Ashley has long agreed a deal with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, however, a dispute with TV rights holders and the various leagues over the apparent piracy, by Saudi Arabia, of broadcaster, beIN Sports’ live matches, has led to the delay.
It would appear that the successful completion of the deal is now a matter for the Premier League, who are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, it’s clear that the potential new owners will pump money into the Magpies thereby making them a more attractive proposition, which should have a positive knock-on effect worldwide in terms of the Premier League brand.
On the flip side is their knowledge of Saudi Arabia’s diabolical human rights violations, and, given the government’s apparent stance, the decision would now appear to rest solely on their shoulders.