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Latest political objection to Newcastle United takeover is embarrassing

4 weeks ago
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I’m sorry, but this latest (daily!) objection to the Newcastle United takeover, it is a total joke.

MP Angus MacNeil writing to Liz Truss the Trade secretary.

His letter urging the government to block the Saudi PIF takeover of Newcastle United, until it investigates TV piracy in the country.

This latest anti NUFC takeover story has become big news, with BBC Sport running it (see below) under the headline: ‘Newcastle United takeover: Saudi deal must be blocked, MP tells government.’

No surprise about the timing, the story running for maximum impact just as Steve Bruce was doing his pre-match press conference and only 48 hours before the first NUFC match of restart.

So how exactly do BBC Sport get to see this private letter from MP to Trade secretary?

The logical conclusion is of course that the MP in question has made his supposedly private letter very public.

This is happening time and time again, politicians in particular trying to use the Newcastle United takeover to raise their own profile and get some headlines.

If any MP has got genuine concerns, why not communicate with government / ministers without the publicity?

It is simply embarrassing the behaviour of so many people.

It isn’t as though MPs such as Angus MacNeil don’t know the government’s position on the NUFC takeover.

A number of times the government have made clear they will not get involved, just as they don’t with the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia, arranging boxing matches in Saudi, massive influence on horseracing in the UK, the Saudi regime sponsoring Man Utd for 12 years and counting and so on.

Only yesterday, Foreign secretary Dominic Raab repeated that there was no chance of the government getting involved in the Newcastle United takeover.

Newcastle fans absolutely fed up as so many people trying to profit from this takeover situation.

BBC Sport reporting:

The government has been urged to block the Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle United until it investigates TV piracy in the country.

Earlier this week the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that Saudi Arabia helped breach international piracy laws in relation to the broadcaster beoutQ.

It has been accused of illegally broadcasting a range of professional sport, including the Premier League.

Angus MacNeil, chair of the International Trade Select Committee, has now written to trade secretary Liz Truss to voice his concerns.

In a letter seen by BBC Sport, MacNeil says: “As you would have seen, the WTO has made a landmark ruling on the protection of sports rights, which is one of the UK’s most valuable and treasured exports.

“In its ruling, the WTO held that the government of Saudi Arabia has, from the beginning, been actively… supporting the ‘beoutQ’ piracy operation that has stolen the commercial rights of UK sports bodies for three years.”

The rights to show Premier League games in the Middle East belong to Qatar-based beIN Sports, who are currently in the middle of a three-year deal with the Premier League worth £400m.

Saudi Arabia has always denied aiding the beoutQ operation and has insisted there is no link between its government and the alleged piracy.

“This is an insult to the UK government, affront to the Premier League, and abuse of UK sport – and should not be tolerated,” wrote MacNeill.

“This is relevant today, right now, because the very entity that has been stealing premium UK sports and entertainment content is attempting to buy a major UK sporting institution – Newcastle United Football Club.

MacNeil said that in light of the WTO ruling “the UK government must now play its part in protecting our creative industry exports by investigating the launch, promotion and operation of the beoutQ service.”

“Quite simply, if Saudi Arabia is unwilling to play by the rules of international law, then it should have no role in the future of UK sport.”

The proposed £300m Newcastle takeover deal is 80% financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – which the government of Saudi Arabia owns and controls – should not be allowed to acquire Newcastle United Football Club until this investigation is completed.”

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