Could the Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle be blocked?
Perhaps for the first time in the never-ending saga of the Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle United, Magpies’ fans might be worried the deal won’t happen.
For the best part of a month, Newcastle supporters have been waiting to hear that Mike Ashley’s tenure at the club is over.
Ashley is believed to have agreed to sell Newcastle United to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund for 300 million pounds.
The Saudis are set to acquire an 80% stake in Newcastle, while Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers are each set to own 10% of the club.
However, a few days ago stories bubbled up suggesting the Newcastle takeover may be delayed.
On Thursday, according to the Times, there’s a real chance the UK government could stop the deal altogether.
Exclusive: Newcastle United’s potential Saudi takeover hits serious stumbling blockhttps://t.co/Jw1EP0UZTA
— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 14, 2020
Newcastle takeover & BeoutQ piracy claims
While some have tried to argue the Newcastle takeover should be stopped based on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, that line of argument hasn’t appeared to have curried much favour at the Premier League.
However, a commercial line of the argument seems to be gaining momentum.
The Saudis stand accused of running pirate broadcasting company BeoutQ, which is based in Cuba, who air Premier League matches in the Gulf without any legal rights.
Indeed, BeoutQ trample on the broadcasting rights of beIN Sports in the region.
Earlier in the week, the Guardian reported that fresh evidence had been served to the Premier League showing the link between the Saudis and BeoutQ.
The Times reporter Martyn Ziegler has now revealed that members of the UK government are looking to dig into this matter with a finer toothcomb:
The takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium has hit significant political obstacles which could hold up any sale of the club.
Giles Watling MP, a Conservative member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has called for that select committee to hold an evidence session on Saudi-based piracy of British sport including Premier League football.
What did Giles Watling say about the Saudis & BeoutQ?
Giles Watling has written an email to the select committee, saying:
This investment fund is backed by the same entity that backs beoutQ – Saudi Arabia – and is particularly pressing as the government refused to comment on the takeover to the Committee recently.
Tory & Lib Dem MPs club together
Giles Watling doesn’t stand alone.
Lincoln’s Conservative MP Karl McCartney is quoted in the Times saying the government need to “block the purchase of Newcastle United” by the Saudis because their broadcasting piracy is “an outrage”.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Times also note that “the Liberal Democrats are set to call for the sale of Newcastle by owner Mike Ashley to be blocked.”
This article was edited by Ben Green.
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