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Richard Masters avoids answering question if third parties or other EPL clubs influenced takeover process?

9 months ago

Richard Masters finally emerged from the Premier League bunker on Friday.

A letter from him to Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah in response to questions raised by her, regarding the Newcastle United takeover situation.

Summing up how this ‘process’ has gone, the contents of this letter were leaked the day before by ‘someone’, with Martin Samuel at The Mail including the main points (of the letter) in an article.

Newcastle fan Steve Hogg has now raised a number of points regarding the Premier League response, in this letter to Richard Masters:

Dear Mr Masters,

I read with interest your open letter (see below) to Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, outlining your response to the questions she had raised in connection with your investigations into the NUFC takeover.

I found your reply to the question about whether third parties or other Premier League clubs had influenced your decision-making very telling. You avoided answering that question directly and honestly by reciting what your rules require you to do, when you know full well that was not what the question was about.

It has been widely reported that you said that there were no ‘red flags’ obstructing the approval in April. There was no change in the PIF’s status after that, so what motivated you to call into question the suitability of their proposed appointee to the Board of Directors of NUFC, and insist that the State of Saudi Arabia replace him and take that seat instead ?

Your demands represent a crafty but blatant attempt to manoeuvre the PIF into ‘the dock’ and from there blame them for SA’s earlier (now corrected) inactions towards TV rights piracy – thereby presenting you with the necessary ‘peg’ upon which to hang your hat, cry foul and reject the deal, while claiming to have done so in compliance with your own rules (clause F.1.6 of your Handbook, amongst others, refers). The PIF were having none of it and who can blame them for that.

We aren’t fooled by your ‘honest broker’ offer to arbitrate the question of ownership when just about every other credible business entity in the western world would accept PIF’s standing and happily do business with them. You, by contrast, appear to be hell bent on sending them packing, embarrassing yourselves and potentially damaging the UK’s relations with the Kingdom of SA in the process.

Who are you to decide what’s best for our football club and to pour cold water on genuine prospects for its success and advancement?

Who are you to deny much needed investment in our local area too?

Your work in this regard (like every other takeover the Premier League have approved to date) should be restricted to assessing whether the proposed Directors and the organisations which they represent are fit for purpose in line with the judging criteria set out in your own rules.

You have allowed your review to become compromised by prioritising your own interests and those of third parties, some with competing commercial and competitive interests of their own. You are guilty of kowtowing to wholly extraneous arguments such as sports washing and human rights abuses, whilst standing shoulder to shoulder with the Qataris who are serial offenders in both of these areas as well as being credited with destroying England’s chances (by unlawful means) of hosting the 2022 World Cup.

One Hundred and Nine Thousand NUFC supporters and others who have signed the petition, calling for an independent investigation , believe that you have acted unfairly and with improper bias. They believe that you have adopted new unwritten and more onerous criteria and applied it in order to kill the bid. Their grievances will not be assuaged with platitudes and they will not let the matter rest until the owner and director approval process can be seen to have been carried out fairly, having regard to the letter of the rules and in the same positive spirit afforded to numerous other, some might say equally controversial, takeovers.


Steve Hogg

(Kindly note that l have copied this communication to my MP Kate Osborne and to Chi Onwurah in the expectation that they will continue the fight for justice for NUFC and use their good offices to assist in bringing an independent investigation forward.)

This is the letter from Premier League CEO, Richard Masters, that Chi Onwurah received and made public on Friday (14 August):


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