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‘I have now written to the Premier League regarding the Newcastle United takeover’

5 months ago
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I felt compelled to write to the Premier League about the Newcastle United takeover.

Although I doubt this will make an iota of difference to their decision…

I hope someone at least reads it and puts another side of the story across for some balance, rather than simply ogling the national tabloids.

My letter to The Premier League regarding the Newcastle United takeover:

To whom it may concern,

I would like to share my dismay at enterprises such as BeIN Sports attempting to place a kibosh upon the proposed Premier League takeover of Newcastle United, considering the conflict of interest they have in the matter.

The company has identified historical streaming services from Saudi Arabia as an issue to do with a proposed takeover of the North East club, however, BeIN Sports’ Chairman, Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi, is also the CEO of French behemoths Paris St Germain, and this move is clearly a thinly veiled attempt to scupper another club from rising to European prominence. PSG have long been considered one of the most questionably run clubs in world football, having spent close to €400m on two players in the summer of 2017, deferring payments for one of those (Kylian Mbappe) under the guise of a short term loan deal.

Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi and his companies provide non-credible objections to the matter of the Newcastle United takeover, a move which will bring regeneration to the region over the next decade, and one which will allow present employees to be excused from the furlough scheme which current Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, has placed upon them.

The Magpies are one of only two top-tier English clubs to continue using this system to save money, affecting people’s daily lives (and public funds) by doing so. The prospective new owners have been widely reported as aspiring to immediately abolish these restrictions, allowing those not on a footballer’s salary an opportunity to receive full wages from the club and to relieve financial burden for them at this difficult time.

It is quite obscene that a multi-billionaire such as Mr Ashley chooses to place his lower salaried workforce on a scheme aimed to assist struggling businesses, as an owner it is one of innumerable controversial measures he has taken during his custodianship at NE1.

The proposed takeover is unlikely to affect many of the top Premier League clubs initially, as the Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions now in place will ensure it is not merely a case of wealthy people spending obscene quantities of money without recourse.

Instead, they will need to remain judicial in their purchases, while seeking to improve facilities which have remained in regression for more than a decade since Mr Ashley’s purchase of the club. This will provide a more appropriate platform for the youth players to develop at the club, which will have a knock-on effect of giving young talent from the region an opportunity to flourish.

As a journalist myself, it has become frustrating to watch the hypocrisy of my peers who are seeking to sell their publications on the back of a sensational narrative borne of an insecure conflict of interest.

Along similar lines to this proposed investment, Manchester United and other elite clubs have sought to build partnerships with members of the Saudi sovereign state in recent seasons, as cited in this article in the Manchester Evening News.

To halt a takeover of a club based on the grounds which are intended to derail this one would be a clear breach of UK competition law, which prohibits agreements, arrangements and concerted business practices which appreciably prevent, restrict or distort competition.

For residents of the Tyneside area, this move will provide an opportunity for their city to receive much needed investment, and football in the country will also be richer for having these new owners in place, with another club able to build a competitive squad in a league which has witnessed an ostensible yawning crevasse between the top seven clubs in the league and the rest.

Football, and sport in general, is more compelling when it becomes unpredictable. To see the status quo having to raise their games will inevitably provide a boon for English football’s opportunities in Europe.

With all of this in mind, I would urge you to allow Newcastle United, one of our nation’s most devotedly supported sporting associations, to complete its takeover. The football club has some of the most passionate and loyal patrons on the planet. Mr Ashley has sapped them of their spirit over the course of 13 arduous seasons.

Thank you for allowing me your time, I felt compelled to speak up for people who are being overshadowed by billion dollar Qatari based sports franchises with access and influence, and to in some small way attempt to redress the balance from parties with a conflict of interest in this matter.

Yours Sincerely

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