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Newcastle City Council contact Richard Masters on refusal to come to Newcastle United takeover decision

2 months ago
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Newcastle City Council have now joined a growing number of individuals and organisations, who want answers as to why the Premier League delayed a decision on the Newcastle United takeover for so long.

After the bidding consortium announced that they’d had no choice but to pull out of their takeover attempt, Amanda Staveley claimed that the Premier League had made clear to her that they had no intention of coming to a decision any time soon and refused to give a timeline.

This despite Richard Masters having told a parliamentary committee five weeks earlier that it would be ‘concluded shortly’…

Now the Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, Pat Ritchie, has written (see below) to Richard Masters for answers.

She says that discussions had taken place previously with those bidding to take over the club and: ‘Members of the consortium spear-heading this deal had made a clear long-term commitment to the city to help drive growth and regeneration, from investment in the city’s physical infrastructure to working with the Newcastle United Foundation.’

The north east is the poorest region in England and with the impact of the virus, it will be massive challenges ahead, Pat Ritchie adding: ‘It is on this basis that I write to request an explanation of the reasons behind the lack of decision making over this 17 week period.’

It is great to see more and more MPs and other people in positions of authority starting to ask questions of the Premier League, as well as the fans who have gathered behind NUST and other initiatives such as the online petition asking for the Premier League process to be independently investigated.

It is one thing Richard Masters and the Premier League arrogantly dismissing individual fans raising concerns but when it comes to the likes of the Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, it is a different matter.

Pat Ritchie desperately hopes that Newcastle City Council can help resurrect the takeover:  We are keen to understand if there is an opportunity to pursue a compromise that both satisfies the Premier League’s concerns and also helps demonstrate the positive impact that football can deliver to the city and facilitate much needed growth. I am happy to discuss this further with your officers – and happy to share the wider investment ambitions of the partners if you are willing to take this opportunity.’

The Premier League are of course well within their rights to turn down the NUFC takeover if they can indeed show those bidding didn’t meet their criteria.

However, the Premier League are surely now in a position where they are duty bound to justify why they had refused to come to a decision either way, some 17 weeks after starting their process.

Letter sent to Premier League CEO Richard Masters, by the Chief Executive of Newcastle Council, Pat Ritchie (as reported by the Chronicle):

“As Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council I write to express my concern and disappointment that the Premier League took so long to consider the proposed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club and that as a result of those delays the deal seems to have collapsed.

“Whilst we understand that the Premier League has due process to follow you will also be aware that for cities that host Premiership Clubs these investments can be about more than football – the impact of such investment into the wider city and the region can be transformational.

“As our city starts to rebuild and emerge from COVID we are clear that continuing investment and job creation in the city will play a critical part in our recovery.

“Our city centre development zones are ready for investment and the partners involved in this deal were keen to work with us to unlock commercial activity.

“Members of the consortium spear-heading this deal had made a clear long-term commitment to the city to help drive growth and regeneration, from investment in the city’s physical infrastructure to working with the Newcastle United Foundation.

“The Foundation’s main objective is to support the local community using the power of football to encourage learning, support employability and promote healthy lifestyles that make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children.

“It is on this basis that I write to request an explanation of the reasons behind the lack of decision making over this 17 week period.

“We are keen to understand if there is an opportunity to pursue a compromise that both satisfies the Premier League’s concerns and also helps demonstrate the positive impact that football can deliver to the city and facilitate much needed growth.

“I am happy to discuss this further with your officers – and happy to share the wider investment ambitions of the partners if you are willing to take this opportunity.”

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