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Amanda Staveley – Premier League shamefully stopped Newcastle takeover by putting in Catch 22 position

3 months ago
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After the collapse of the Newcastle United takeover, Amanda Staveley has explained in quite shocking detail how the Premier League have carefully planned to prevent the deal going through.

Along with the Reuben brothers and the Saudi PIF, Amanda Staveley put her name to a joint statement (see below) on Thursday afternoon.

That statement told media and fans that the Newcastle United takeover was now off, although it didn’t go into great detail as to why.

However, in a number of interviews following that statement, Amanda Staveley has quite clearly pointed the finger of blame, stating categorically what has prevented the deal happening.

In the best of those interviews, George Caulkin talked to Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi on Thursday night.

George has been close to the bidding side and and indeed was also close to the Staveley camp in the previous attempt to buy the club from Mike Ashley.

Many Newcastle fans had come to the conclusion that after so many months of prevaricating, the Premier League were purposefully refusing to make a decision and were instead just relying on a waiting game, that eventually they could sicken the bidders into thinking this was a waste of time.

The Premier League apparently succeeding in this according to Amanda Staveley, good to see the Premier League are good at something…

Amanda Staveley delivering this killer line:

“They were saying ‘you know what, we won’t reject you but we won’t approve you either, so we’ll just sit here for month after month’.”

When you read through these brief outtakes below, it appears that rather than simply going through their own rules on new owners line by line, the Premier League instead have deliberately obstructed the Saudi PIF backed bid.

The Premier League putting the bidders in a Catch 22 position, insisting that the Saudi state would have to be a director, knowing that was an impossible ask.

The only thing that doesn’t make sense is when Amanda Staveley says:

“It’s up to the fans now. Because if the fans want this back on then they’re going to have to go to the Premier League and say this isn’t fair.”

Well, if it was just a case of saying ‘this isn’t fair’ then Newcastle fans would have been rid of Mike Ashley 12 years ago but sadly it isn’t that easy.

The Premier League of course are happy for an owner such as Mike Ashley to operate in the disgraceful way he has done for more than a decade, especially with regard to his treatment of fans.

A shame a bit more time and effort isn’t willingly put into that, rather than simply looking to negatively block a bid that could / would change the way Newcastle United are ran, very much for the better.

Amanda Staveley (and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi) talking to George Caulkin at The Athletic:

“The Premier League wanted the country, Saudi, to become a director of the football club.

“That’s what this is about.

“They were effectively saying ‘PIF wouldn’t be the ultimate beneficial owner, we believe it’s actually the government, therefore we want the country to become a director’, which puts them in an impossible situation. They feel they weren’t wanted by the Premier League.

“I hope the fans realise what’s happened, that this is a lot more complicated than it might seem. I want them to understand the whole thing about the directorship, that it would be impossible for a state to become a director.

“The Premier League made it so hard. It would be unprecedented. No country has ever become a director of a club. It’s ridiculous.

“They were saying ‘you know what, we won’t reject you but we won’t approve you either, so we’ll just sit here for month after month’. They could have told us all this before we exchanged. It’s up to the fans now. Because if the fans want this back on then they’re going to have to go to the Premier League and say this isn’t fair.”

Planned £250m investment after takeover:

“We had a plan for £250 million of investment in the club over the first few years, as much as we could put in.

“And on top of that, we had massive plans to invest in the city, in housing, everything. We talked with the council. Newcastle are the last great untapped club. The last great club with so much potential to grow and improve and with a fanbase who were already there and who wanted it so much.”

Rival bidders (asked in particular about Henry Mauriss (who doesn’t appear to have anything like the money needed) who jokers such as Richard Keys and certain journalists are pushing as credible)?

“There aren’t other bids. It’s rubbish.”

Would the bidders still do the deal now? (Mehrdad Ghodoussi answering):

“Even now, if the Premier League came to us and said ‘we will approve you’ we would do this deal tomorrow, all three parties of the consortium.”

A chance the Newcastle United takeover could still happen?

“I just don’t know. I don’t want to give up, but I can’t do it on my own. I’ve tried. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried. You need investment. You can’t just buy a club with no investment behind you. You need £600-700 million minimum, to do a deal like this. That was all in place.”

The joint statement released by PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers on Thursday 30 July 2020:

With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the Club to the position of its history, tradition and fans’ merit.

Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.

To that end, we feel a responsibility to the fans to explain the lack of alternatives from an investment perspective.

As an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on building long-term value for the Club, its fans and the community as we remained committed to collaboration, practicality and proactivity through a difficult period of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and the Club.

Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the Club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities.

As often occurs with proposed investments in uncertain periods, time itself became an enemy of the transaction, particularly during this difficult phase marked by the many real challenges facing us all from Covid-19.

We feel great compassion for the Newcastle United fans with whom we shared a great commitment to help Newcastle United harness its tremendous potential and build upon its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community.

We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process. We are sorry it is not to be.

We wish the team and everyone associated with it much good luck and success.’

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