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Sky Sports reveal that Saudi Royal Court gave ‘written assurances’ on Newcastle United takeover

2 months ago
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Sky Sports were busy at St James Park on Friday, however, instead of announcing essential new signings, it was the war of the words over the (no?) Newcastle United takeover that was keeping them occupied.

Friday afternoon had seen Newcastle Central (which includes St James Park) MP Chi Onwurah make public a reply she had received from Richard Masters.

The Premier League CEO replying (see it HERE) to the MP’s questions about the Newcastle United takeover, Masters adding that his answers to Chi Onwurah would also be circulated as a response to the other 80+ MPS who had written with concerns, as well as other interested / concerned parties (including the fans…).

Sky Sports are more often than not the preferred Mike Ashley route of communicating on the very infrequent occasions when he wants to, with Friday afternoon bringing this response to the Premier League emerging from lockdown in their bunker.

Keith Downie of Sky Sports – Friday 14 August 2020:

“A source close to Mike Ashley notes the published letter by Richard Masters to MP Chi Onwurah and asks:

“If the information requested by the Premier League to the consortium was now provided, would the Premier League be in a position to act on the takeover?”

Then on Friday night, not to be left out, we had this response from the Saudi PIF side of things, also via Sky Sports.

Keith Downie of Sky Sports via Twitter – Friday 14 August 2020:

“A source close to PIF has told Sky Sports News tonight that the consortium provided written assurances from the highest possible government department, notably the Saudi Royal Court, that the Kingdom would have no influence over the running of NUFC.

“The source close to Saudi-led group told Sky Sports News it was impossible for them to offer any further detail about the independence of the consortium from the State.

“Source added that the idea the group were holding back information was “bizarre”.

“Our source claims the consortium were only offered arbitration on the single point regarding the question of how much influence the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would have on the day-to-day running of the football club.”

The mention of: ‘written assurances from the highest possible government department, notably the Saudi Royal Court, that the Kingdom would have no influence over the running of NUFC’, refers to what appears to be the pivotal point of conflict in the Newcastle United takeover saga.

The Premier League insisting that the Saudi state needs to be seen as the ultimate owner of 80% of NUFC shares and effectively controlling the football club, whilst the bidders insist that the Public Investment Fund (Saudi PIF) should be seen as a separate independent entity.

When the bid to buy NUFC was pulled 16 days ago, Amanda Staveley came out and said this was the big sticking point, calling it ‘ridiculous’ and unprecedented. The Richard Masters letter also stated this was the big issue, as did an article in The Mail on Thursday, somebody leaking Friday’s Premier League message / letter 24 hours before it went public via Chi Onwurah.

The bottom line on all of this is that any / all parties (Premier League, Mike Ashley, the Saudi PIF led bidders) can make as many public statements or brief the media via ‘sources’, but it is all just talk.

If the consortium believe that the Premier League have acted unreasonably and broken their own rules on the Newcastle United takeover, then the Saudi PIF side need to pursue it through their legal team.

Otherwise, it is difficult to see this as anything beyond a PR exercise, in terms of the Saudi PIF bidders not wanting to lose face.

If they want to own Newcastle United and feel they are in the right in terms of being able to satisfy the Premier League rule book, they need to now walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Newcastle fans are stuck in the middle of all this and are deserving of honesty and clarity.

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