Newcastle’s £305m Saudi takeover is facing fresh scrutiny

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Fresh from a devastating Carabao Cup final defeat, Newcastle United have received more bad news this week, this time relating to the club’s takeover by PIF, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Once it became clear that Mike Ashley was prepared to sell and the Premier League could give the green light, there were always going to be questions raised and scrutiny maintained, to ensure that there was no foul play involved.

A clear commitment had to be honoured at the outset that it was indeed PIF that were controlling and bankrolling the club, and not the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Until now there hasn’t appeared to be any reason for the authorities to do any further digging into the ownership of the north east giant.

According to the Daily Mail, however, a recent lawsuit in the United States concerning LIV Golf and the PGA Tour has identified Newcastle chairman, Yasir Al Rumayyan, as a ‘sitting minister of the Saudi government.’

Perhaps unwillingly, in so doing, Al Rumayyan has placed PIF’s takeover front and centre once more.

Furthermore, papers which state that “the PIF and His Excellency Yasir Othman Al Rumayyan are not ordinary third parties subject to basic discovery relevance standards […] they are a sovereign instrumentality of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a sitting minister of the Saudi government, and they cannot be compelled to provide testimony and documents,” hardly help Newcastle’s case.

At present, it seems that no comment is being made by any party, but it would be a huge surprise if this, unrelated, incident doesn’t end up causing the Magpies some grief, given the wording of PIF’s response to the lawsuit.

After such a wonderful season to this point, Eddie Howe won’t want his players distracted now.

They need to remain focused through the business end of the campaign in order to bring back those European glory nights that Newcastle enjoyed during the 1990s.

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