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Newcastle United fans even more confused as Saudi Arabia AND Qatar claim victory with WTO report

2 years ago

Newcastle United fans at last got sight of the long-awaited WTO report.

At 3pm on Tuesday the WTO published the report and most supporters waited for clarity from the media, what did it all mean, all 120/130 pages of it?

Well, the media provided as much clarity and reliable definitive answers as they have done throughout these past few months.

Depending on what / who you read, the WTO report proved / indicated that the Newcastle United takeover was / wasn’t going ahead.

To add to the lack of clarity and confusion, we had these rival claims from Saudi Arabia and Qatar reacting to Tuesday’s published WTO report…

Aljazeera reporting from the Qatar / beIN Sports side:

Qatar welcomed the WTO ruling, describing it as a “resounding victory”.

“Saudi Arabia, especially since it is hosting the upcoming G20, to respect this decisive ruling and end the theft and piracy of IP rights at once,” said Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Qatar’s minister of commerce and industry. “They can start by heeding the WTO’s ruling and conducting a fair, timely, and transparent legal proceeding against the perpetrators in order to stop this abuse post-haste,” he added.

David Sugden, legal counsel for beIN Media Group, also described the judgement as a “major victory” for intellectual property (IP) rights protection and the international rule of law.

“Fundamentally, sport relies on the protection of IP and international law and local law to protect its interests, and sadly for three years now every sports body’s rights have been run roughshod over by Saudi Arabia and this judgment emphatically says that,” he told Al Jazeera from London.

Whilst this statement was  released by the Saudi government via their official news agency:

‘A World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute panel released its report Tuesday ruling against Qatar, and finding that Saudi Arabia’s national security defence was justified under WTO rules.

The WTO panel acknowledged that Saudi Arabia “seeks to protect Saudi citizens and the Saudi population, Saudi government institutions, and the territory of Saudi Arabia from the threats of terrorism and extremism” raised by Qatar in the region.

The panel also found that Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive actions were “taken in time of… other emergency in international relations,” based on extensive evidence presented to the WTO tribunal by Saudi Arabia regarding Qatar’s violations of regional agreements and commitments to renounce support for violence and unrest in the region.

Saudi Arabia also confirmed to the panel that it provides strong protection of intellectual property rights, including criminal procedures and penalties in cases where credible evidence is available to the Government to support the initiation of proceedings.

In addition to accepting Saudi Arabia’s national security defence, the panel rejected Qatar’s remaining claims that Saudi law violated WTO rules, and rejected claims that the Saudi government supported the alleged copyright piracy. Out of six claims by Qatar, the panel’s single finding regarding criminal proceedings was rendered moot in the course of the WTO dispute.

Saudi Arabia has a strong record of protecting intellectual property and is committed to applying its national law and procedures in full conformity with WTO rules.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will spare no effort to overcome the threats of terrorism and extremism, and Saudi Arabia is pleased that the Panel recognized its sovereign rights in this regard.’

A major fault in the media coverage leading up to the WTO report yesterday, was that it had been built up in many people’s eyes, that it would tell us whether it was yes or no for the Newcastle United takeover going ahead.

Whereas, that was almost certainly not going to be the case.

As we have seen, both Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as journalists covering the Newcastle United takeover, have all taken the WTO report to mean that their case / argument is strengthened.

Anybody looking for a smoking gun will still be looking.

I struggle to see the Premier League blocking the Newcastle United takeover now that the WTO report was published. However, that was my position already, a bit like most people, after Tuesday it hasn’t changed my mind from what I previously thought.

Wednesday morning has now brought exclusives across the media, all getting their ‘exclusives’ from the same source apparently. Claiming that American businessman Henry Mauriss has put a £350m bid to Mike Ashley.

The madness goes on, with many / most commentators and fans struggling to see how Mauriss if even at the level of wealth that would allow him to buy Newcastle United, let alone invest in the club after a purchase.

Those hoping for clarity on the NUFC takeover, have now woken up on Wednesday to find that these past 24 hours have instead muddied the waters even more.

Newcastle United has been a total circus for far too many years but the current NUFC situation would take some beating, with clowns Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley centre stage after the latest disgraceful actions in recent months.

(The full WTO report can be read HERE if you are so inclined)


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