Newcastle takeover bid: still no date for Premier League arbitration
Posted On July 4, 2021
Sources close to the Saudi-funded Amanda Staveley-led bid for Newcastle United say they still have not been given a date for the Premier League arbitration case, which is expected to be heard this this month.
On Sunday, Staveley sent an open letter to Tracey Crouch, the MP who chairs the government’s review of the governance of fan-run football, accusing the league of “a well-guarded lack of transparency.” The Premier League, says Staveley, “performs a similar function to that of a government regulator – but without the same systems of accountability”.
Mike Ashley issued a similar statement on Thursday calling for the process to unfold. “The club has nothing to hide when it comes to refereeing and invites the EPL [English Premier League] to accept that he should no longer be held in camera, ”we read. “If the EPL has acted legally and correctly, it should have no reason to be afraid of the public spotlight.
The head of PCP Capital Partners underscored the same concerns and praised Westminster’s response in April to so-called “Big Six” attempts to create a Super League. “It is truly fortunate for those involved to be seen taking a firm stand – just as the government intervened so decisively and effectively in the European Super League debacle,” Staveley wrote.
“But there is a real urgency – given that the NUFC arbitration hearing is due to take place this month. We need immediate intervention to bring the problem to light. In my opinion, it is likely that this would be enough to compel those involved to behave more responsibly and signal the government’s intention to take effective action in the interest of the country. “
The reference to the Super League is superimposed. Those linked to Newcastle’s £ 300million offer believe at least two Big Six clubs forcibly opposed the takeover behind the scenes. Owners who oppose the deal fear that the involvement of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in St James’ Park will mean an injection of funds into the club that will reflect Sheikh Mansour’s spending at Manchester City or Roman Abramovich at Chelsea.
Those linked to the Newcastle buyout plan insist the situation is different. They say that despite the support of PIF – the Saudi fund pays 80% of the money with PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers funding 10% each – the club will be run within its means.
The main object of Staveley’s anger is the Premier League. Ashley is pursuing separate proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (Cat) and this case began last month. Cat chairman has revealed Premier League arbitration will take place in July, but the governing body has been quiet about the actual date.
Potential buyers withdrew from the deal 12 months ago after the Premier League refused to ratify the takeover and continued to seek assurances over Saudi involvement in the club’s day-to-day management. The members of the consortium, however, remained eager to complete the transaction and believe that many obstacles have been removed.
One of the biggest obstacles to the takeover was the Cold War between Saudi Arabia and its allies and Qatar. Premier League Gulf broadcast partner BeIn Sport, based in Qatar, had its transmissions hijacked from Saudi Arabia-based sites and there were strong suspicions of state involvement by the Desert Kingdom. This year there has been a thaw in relations with detente between nations, and BeIn’s programming is no longer hacked.
Nonetheless, Staveley remains frustrated with the Premier League’s position and the time it takes to close the deal. Richard Masters, the organization’s chief executive, said in January that the dispute would be resolved “in due course”. Six months later, the 48-year-old businesswoman is still waiting.
Even if Staveley gets the green light to take over the club, future owners fear that there is little time left in the transfer window for them to make their mark on Newcastle ahead of the new season. The open letter to Crouch is an attempt to put pressure on the Premier League.