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Pirates now threaten Newcastle United takeover report : Only at NUFC

5 months ago
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The box ticking exercise goes on behind closed doors at the Premier League, as the Newcastle United takeover crawls towards its conclusion.

To say that it has been smooth sailing would be just a little delusional, as so many want to have their say on why it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

As we hope to see the back of the Mike Ashley Circus at St James Park, it is now Pirates who could supposedly sink the takeover.

These though aren’t the old style Pirates with parrots and skull and crossbones flags, instead it is (Qatar based) beIN Sports claiming Saudi Arabia should be held to account for their alleged involvement in a pirate network which illegally broadcasts Premier League matches.

The Premier League have previously called on Saudi Arabia state satellite operator Arabsat to stop providing a platform for the pirate network beoutQ, which started illegally streaming sporting events in 2017 and despite repeated attempts by the various sports governing bodies and rights holders to stop it, the Pirates still carry on.

In 2019 the Premier League said they had tried to launch a copyright complaint against beoutQ through the courts in Saudi Arabia, only for nine different Saudi law firms to refuse to act for them.

Now Yousef Al-Obaidly has written to the Premier League, calling on the issue to prevent the Newcastle United takeover. Al-Obaidly is chief executive of beIN and in the letter says: ‘…the potential acquirer of Newcastle United (has) caused huge damage to your clubs and the Premier League’s commercial revenues.’

‘The legacy of the illegal service will continue to impact you going forward.

‘When the Premier League season re-commences in the coming months, all of the league’s broadcasters’ content will continue to be readily and illegally available via the IPTV streaming functionality on the beoutQ set-top-boxes which were sold in significant quantities in Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

‘Furthermore – given the crippling economic effect that coronavirus is having on the sports industry – this is all happening at a time when football clubs need to protect their broadcast revenue the most.’

Yousef Al-Obaidly is also on the board of Qatar owned PSG and the plot thickens as this is of course about far more than modern day Pirates…

The TV rights piracy kicked off in 2017, which ‘coincidentally’ was when Saudi Arabia (as well as) Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE severed all ties with Qatar.

The Saudi led severing of ties, was justified at the time as due to Qatar allegedly embracing various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region. Saudi Arabia and the other three countries closing their airspaces, territorial waters and land borders to Qatar.

Until the 2017 severing of ties, Qatar had been an ally of Saudi Arabia and indeed in 2015 contributed troops to the much criticised Saudi led war on Yemen.

Newcastle United have always been a political club but this is a whole new level, with already claims that if/when the Saudi PIF takeover is completed, Qatar owned clubs such as PSG and Man City will not be trading players with Newcastle United.

Whilst it makes a good story and an interesting twist to the Newcastle United takeover saga, the piracy issues have been a long running issue and not exactly a secret.

I personally can’t imagine this will be a factor that could stop a takeover, at this late stage, as the issue will surely have been a matter for discussion between all interested parties early on. No surprise though if once the takeover happens, we see some movement on the piracy issue being dealt with in Saudi Arabia…

These are very rich but small countries ruled by unelected people, so no surprise that they tend to expect to get what they want and end up in conflict when they don’t. Just for reference, Saudi Arabia has a population of around 33million, whilst Qatar is less than 3million, yet the latter managed to laughably ‘win’ the vote to host the 2022 World Cup.

Prestige, money, power…welcome to the Newcastle United takeover, hopefully.

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