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Opinion

I am more than convinced this Newcastle United takeover will go through despite the Geopolitics

3 months ago
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Being a Newcastle United fan has over the years brought its own set of drama and incidents off the pitch.

As fans, we have developed a thick skin with a strong patience threshold, to put up with all the disappointments the Mike Ashley reign of self-harm has been unleashed on us.

Therefore, I can understand the frustration in the wait to finally get to see Ashley and his hideous SD signs get out of the club.

From a personal standpoint, I am more than convinced this Newcastle United takeover will go through.

To begin with, judging from the parameters of the tests, the objections raised by Human Rights organisations and / or Hatice Cengiz would instead come under the purview of the UK Government not the Premier League. So the PL would need to lean on it for advice, to which the Culture Secretary on the Government’s behalf has already said they won’t step in, which in itself is a no objection statement or an endorsement, whichever way one would like to perceive it.

Let me give an example as to Government workings with its respective national leagues or federations under which situation requires they feel the need to step in.

Many will know the countries of India and Pakistan have been at proxy war and in some cases border skirmishes but trade relations or use of airspace was never bought into question. But a precedent was set post-2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani terrorists. Despite that ghastly incident, the Cricket Board of India was due to go ahead with a pre-arranged tour with Pakistan until the Government intervened and instructed the Board to cancel the series.

So the only issue we find ourselves as fans is a moral one but me supporting my club is not giving a blind thumbs up to the owner.

As for hypocrites telling us to take a stand against Saudi Arabia, they should then turn around and walk the talk by boycotting Twitter, Uber, Disney Parks & Movies, or taking the next Caribbean cruise on a P & O Ship that’s owned by Carnival Co.

Moving on to the Piracy issue, this is where it gets murky and entangled in a complicated political minefield. We wouldn’t be caught up in this web of geopolitics if ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar hadn’t been severed. Qatar’s beIN has reason to be the aggrieved party with its signal stolen by BeOutQ and retransmitted via Arabsat transponders. Going by the running debate on twitter, although it’s well known that Arabsat is owned by different Gulf states, the issue of piracy allegedly becomes exclusive to Saudi Arabia due to the signal theft said to occur in Saudi TV Space.

What would be damning is if the powers that be in Qatar managed to tie BeOutQ to the Saudi Government / PIF. Getting upset over the fact as to why PIF’s buying a stake in Disney isn’t pulled by Bein is understandable but maybe they would have if Bein had a lucrative deal with Disney and its shows ended up being splashed on Saudi screens for nothing.

So lets dive a little deeper, what the lawyers at the PL would be looking at based on the allegations bought forward by BeIN. One would be that of signal theft and loss of significant earnings (may I remind again that is only if it’s proven that BeOutQ is tied to the Saudis). Well BeIN was already banned in Saudi Arabia, so if BeIN were to be adamant and stick to the primary accusation of illegal transmission of premier league football games, then China comes worst out at nearly 1 million viewers. Furthermore, China is listed on the same Priority Watch List that the USTR placed Saudi Arabia in. So, the Saudi PIF has a good argument for discrimination and unfair treatment if the PL chooses to go down that route.

And going back to the main reason as to why Saudi Arabia were placed on the priority list, due to its unwillingness to pursue action against BeOutQ or the formation of copyright laws. To its credit, however belatedly, the disappearance of BeOutQ should provide sufficient credibility that the Saudi State took necessary action through the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property Dept raiding stores selling illicit streaming devices. They can always assure the PL that it’s put processes in place that will ultimately frame those laws in due course.

Even referring to clause F1.6 that addresses an act which could be reasonably considered dishonest and whether or not this conduct resulted in a conviction is enough for the PL to block a transfer. There is no basis on which the PL can ascertain PIF’s involvement and exposes itself to counter argument of hearsay. Even if the PL were pressured into exhausting all its resources it would still have to refer to surmountable evidence pertaining to fraud practices from a ruling or directive which would have to come from a Financial Regulatory Body.

To end this, the takeover is on course for its pure merit. The Premier League isn’t interested in how excessively rich the PIF is, or how much it may lose if it doesn’t approve their takeover, but only sticking to the conditions set out in its requirements. Looking forward to cracking open those cans soon.

You can follow the author on Twitter @BobbyGoa

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