Saudi Arabia & Newcastle takeover
What will finish first: social distancing laws or the takeover at Newcastle United?
Newcastle fans are now in month three of waiting for the Premier League to green light the takeover at St James’ Park by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
On Monday, the Athletic have dug into the main reason why the Premier League haven’t approved the deal: Saudi Arabia’s relationship with pirate broadcasters beoutQ.
Premier League are looking for a ‘win-win’ situation
We’ve previously gone into detail over the allegations made against beoutQ, and how they’ve trampled all over beIN Sports’ broadcasting rights in the Gulf region.
However, what’s key to know is that the Premier League have a long record of trying to shut beoutQ down themselves.
As reported in the AP in January 2019, FIFA, UEFA, the Asian Football Confederation plus the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga wrote a joint statement denouncing the “persistent and illegal screening” of matches which infringed on beIN Sports’ broadcasting rights.
French court rules that pirate broadcaster beoutQ is distributed on Arabsat. pic.twitter.com/UWLIQxRlY5
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) June 15, 2019
Crucially, we’re approaching an end-date in the beoutQ, piracy case. As reported in the Athletic:
At some point in the week preceding this game, probably the day before the league resumes on June 17, a World Trade Organization (WTO) report is expected to underline what the European Commission, a French court, the US government and numerous experts have already established: that pirate streaming service was set up and supported by the Saudi state seemingly to destroy beIN’s business and diminish Qatar, the neighbour the Saudis have been blockading for three years.
On the face of it, the Premier League are facing an no-win situation.
If the WTO confirm that beouQ are pirates, and the Premier League still allow the Newcastle takeover, that would be a major slap in the face to beIN Sport – who pay the Premier League a fortune to broadcast their product.
Alternatively, if the Premier League deny the Saudi takeover, the Saudis are likely to launch a legal war against the EPL which could prove incredibly painful.
A World Trade Organization report has concluded that Saudi Arabia is behind the streaming service beoutQ, which illegally pirates coverage of sports events, casting doubt over planned £300m takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United. pic.twitter.com/KwhfVoSAGz
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) May 29, 2020
Facing those two alternatives, the Athletic’s Matt Slater has suggested the Premier League possibly, maybe have one ‘win-win’ solution to this mess.
— George Caulkin (@GeorgeCaulkin) June 8, 2020
How the Premier League can allow the Saudi takeover without upsetting beIN Sport
Matt Slater has written the following insightful theory into how the Premier League can resolve their Newcastle, Saudi, bein Sport conundrum:
One source described the situation as a “potential disaster that could become the biggest win-win in history” if the league can persuade the Saudis to properly crack down on beoutQ, lift its blockade of beIN and allow its lawyers to take custom from aggrieved overseas rights-holders.
The sequence of events would be something along the lines of usual suspects being rounded up in Riyahd, a warehouse full of electronic equipment will be raided, the Saudi government gets the credit, beIN is begrudgingly allowed to operate again and MBS gets his Premier League billboard and investment opportunity.
Warning: Newcastle fans need to continue to be patient
While the Athletic have table a possible solution to the Newcastle takeover problem, fans have been warned over the possible timetable for when the Saudis could finally seal the deal.
With so many hurdles to jump over, the Athletic fear that the Saudis won’t complete their takeover “in time for the summer transfer window”.
However, the silver lining for Newcastle supporters is that the Athletic still believe the Saudis will ultimately acquire the Toon.
This article was edited by Ben Green.
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