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Foreign Secretary quizzed on whether Saudi PIF should be allowed to complete Newcastle United takeover

4 months ago
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Amazing the places that the Newcastle United takeover debate reaches…

It is now 10 weeks since Mike Ashley and the Saudi PIF led bidders presented the relevant paperwork to the Premier League to begin their processes.

Still no news either way on whether the takeover will happen and indeed, the much talked about WTO report simply appeared to confuse matters even more when it was eventually published on Tuesday. Everybody claiming victory, whether it was Saudi Arabia or Qatar, or those journalists on both sides – claiming the WTO report did or didn’t backed up the Newcastle United takeover going ahead.

Now we have a government minister quizzed on the subject.

As part of an interview on Sky News, Kay Burley challenged Dominic Raab on whether the Saudi government / PIF should be allowed to buy Newcastle United.

This was only ever going to get one answer.

Seen as Boris Johnson and the Conservatives in general were very keen to support the continuing supply of arms to Saudi Arabia in 2019 as they bombed Yemen, this government are hardly going to object to the Saudis buying a football club.

The government are hardly going to intervene when they and the Queen etc fall over themselves to welcome the Saudi leaders when they visit the UK, just as they do when they welcome so many other shocking regimes to the UK, whether it is China, Russia, or whoever.

Sure enough, the Foreign Secretary repeated the government line, not getting involved and ‘there’s a proper process’ and that ‘there are legal safeguards to make sure it’s done the proper way.’

The truth is, it is a free for all really, especially with the Premier League, when it comes to laws / rules on who can own PL football clubs.

In Germany, the likes of Saudis, Russians, Chinese, Americans or an evil English shopkeeper, couldn’t march in and own Bundesliga clubs, the fans have to own the majority of shares in any club.

In the Premier League however, cash is king and the only thing that matters.

On all Premier League branding it should declare ‘Greed is good.’

So on this basis, there are no reasons or rules that will stop the Saudi PIF Newcastle United takeover, just as there was nothing to stop Abramovich at Chelsea, Mansour at Man City, the Chinese owners at Wolves, the Americans at Man Utd and Liverpool.

Dominic Raab declaring on behalf of the government, though this could easily be a Premier League spokesman: ‘I think it’s right that we welcome engagement, investment into football in this country…This country is an open, outward looking country. We’ve got investment from all around the world…’

The Newcastle United takeover will happen, it is just a question of when.

Kay Burley on Sky News questioning foreign secretary Dominic Raab:

Kay Burley:

“Should they [Saudi PIF] be allowed to take over Newcastle [United]?”

Dominic Raab:

“There’s a proper process that we’ve got in place to look at everything from the competition aspects to other questions of propriety.

“I think it’s right that that legal due process, with all the safeguards that it’s got in place, is followed, and we have this debate about takeovers in this country, and I think we should follow the rule of law.”

Kay Burley:

“You are a football fan, would you be happy with having Saudi Arabia owning your team?”

Dominic Raab:

“We had the same debate when, in relation to (Roman) Abramovich and Chelsea.

“I think it’s right that we welcome engagement, investment into football in this country and everyone’s pleased to see the Premier League back up and running.

“But also that there are legal safeguards to make sure it’s done the proper way.

“This country is an open, outward looking country.

“We’ve got investment from all around the world but you are right, we do need safeguards in place.

“We have seen that in relation to 5G, we have seen that in relation to takeovers, that national security and other questions of propriety are properly scrutinised.

“We have got the due process and the laws in place to do that and I trust the courts and institutions we have got to deliver that.”

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