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Amanda Staveley and Mike Ashley launch coordinated attack on Premier League

7 months ago

It was the turn of Amanda Staveley to step up to the plate on Sunday.

On Thursday (1 July 2021), we saw a statement (see below) released by Mike Ashley demanding once again that transparency has to be shown when it comes to the Newcastle United takeover arbitration case with the Premier League.

Ashley’s statement concluding with a plea for Government pressure to be brought to bear on the Premier League to force transparency on them: ‘If the EPL continues to insist that the Club’s claim must be determined behind closed doors, the Club asks that MPs, the government, the media and the general public call on the EPL to finally accept public scrutiny of its decision-making process.’

Then on Saturday (3 July 2021), we had via his Twitter account, Mehrdad Ghodoussi declaring (see below) about the behaviour of the Premier League: ‘Delay tactics, zero transparency. Fans deserve better. Tracey Crouch, please look into this. #NUFC.’

Ghodoussi is a Director / Partner at PCP Capital Partners (along with his wife Amanda Staveley), both of them of course key figures in the attempted NUFC takeover, along with the Saudis and the Reuben Brothers.

Now on Sunday (4 July 2021), we have a letter from Amanda Staveley to Tracey Crouch made public, Tory MP Crouch is of course the Chair of the Government’s fan-led review into football…

Amanda Staveley letter to Tracey Crouch made public – Sunday 4 July 2021:

“Dear Ms Crouch,

“I am writing to you, given PCP Capital Partners’ well-publicised interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

“In order to demonstrate our commitment to keeping the Newcastle fans as informed as we can, I write this to you as an open letter.

“We were very pleased to see the Government’s announcement a few months ago that there is going to be a detailed review into the governance of football, led by you. Fans across the country will be hugely grateful that the issues should finally be addressed.

“A closely guarded lack of transparency from those responsible for the regulation of football does not generally promote good governance. In particular the use of arbitration to resolve disputes within football raises an effective shield against public scrutiny – and one might justifiably ask why that model is so favoured by those responsible for regulating the sport if they have nothing to hide.

“You have may seen NUFC’s press announcement from Thursday. Fans surely deserve absolute transparency from the regulators across all their processes to best ensure that they act responsibly. They are performing a function like that of a Government regulator – but without the same systems for accountability.

“This is very much a chance for those involved to be seen to take a robust stance – just as the Government so decisively and effectively stepped into the European Super League debacle. But there is real urgency given the NUFC arbitration hearing is due to take place this month. We need intervention immediately to force the issue out into the open. It is my view that it is likely that that would be enough to make those involved behave more responsibly and signal the Government’s intention to take effective action in the interests of the country.

“I look forward to hearing from you.

“Yours sincerely,

“Amanda Staveley”

Maybe not the smoothest of coordinated attacks but one thing for certain, it is showing that the potential buyers (Amanda Staveley etc) and seller (Mike Ashley) are all pushing in the same direction.

The Reuben brothers (and extended family – Jamie Reuben) have previously shown that they are still fully committed to the syndicate’s attempted takeover of Newcastle United.

Whilst with the Saudis, we can only take it on trust that they retain their interest.

A fair assumption for many / most people will be that if everybody else is still pushing the takeover agenda, then it strongly indicates the Saudis are silently pushing it as well, or else surely everybody else would be wasting their time…

As Newcastle fans, none of us are privy to all of the facts, or what indeed are the chances of the arbitration case proving positive for the takeover.

Some would suggest this all sounds a little desperate in terms of trying to once again trying to open up the transparency of the Premier League inner workings, whilst for probably the vast majority of fans, they at least would choose to believe that these moves are the potential buyers and seller showing their strong confidence in the arbitration case, in terms of happy to show transparency of what both sides (Premier League and buyers / seller) have been up to.

The big question though is whether all of this will lead to a successful passing by the Premier League of the transfer of ownership from Mike Ashley to the Saudi backed syndicate?

The hopeless romantics amongst the Newcastle United fanbase will no doubt be daydreaming of new owners unveiled at St James Park, as simultaneously all the virus related restrictions on society come to an end.

A bit like waiting for a positive parole board to free you from prison after a lengthy sentence, after over 14 years already of Mike Ashley’s ownership, so long as there is a positive change of ownership outcome in the near future, months not years, we would all take that.

On Saturday 3 July 2021, via his Twitter account, Mehrdad Ghodoussi declaring about the behaviour of the Premier League:

“Delay tactics, zero transparency. Fans deserve better.

Tracey Crouch, please look into this. #NUFC”

Mike Ashley Official Statement released via NUFC regarding Newcastle United Takeover arbitration – Thursday 1 July 2021:

‘The Club continues to receive requests for updates on its current arbitration claim against the Premier League (‘EPL’) considering the lawfulness of the EPL’s decisions regarding the proposed takeover of the Club involving the PIF.

Unfortunately, the Club is unable to make any comment about the arbitration. The EPL Rules provide the entire arbitration process is confidential.

However, both parties can agree for it to be in public. The Club believes it should be.

The issues at stake, including the lawfulness of the EPL’s decision making process and the widely publicised alleged influence of the EPL’s commercial partners on the EPL’s decisions, are of far wider interest to other football clubs, fans and the public in general.

The recent attempted breakaway by some EPL clubs – and the reaction of the government and public to it – has again highlighted the need for transparency and fairness in football governance. Gone are the days when important decisions that affect clubs and their fans should be made secretly, behind closed doors and away from the public eye.

The Club has nothing to hide with respect to the arbitration and invites the EPL to agree that it should no longer be held behind closed doors. If the EPL has acted lawfully and properly, it should have no reason to be afraid of the public spotlight.

To date the EPL has strongly resisted any public scrutiny of its decision-making process. It tried, and failed, to prevent the High Court’s judgment about elements of the arbitration being published last February. It is currently attempting to prevent the competition courts considering a claim by the Club’s sellers from taking place in public, arguing that too should be held in confidential arbitration.

So the Club has invited the EPL to agree – as the claim raises such important issues of sports governance, transparency and openness – that it should be held in public. The Club is prepared for every stage of the process to be in public: the public should be able to see the parties’ evidence and arguments as well as the full decision of the Tribunal when it is made.

The government quite rightly threatened to intervene in reaction to the proposed breakaway from the EPL earlier this year, and the reaction of football fans and the wider public was instrumental in stopping the emergence of the European Super League (ESL).

If the EPL continues to insist that the Club’s claim must be determined behind closed doors, the Club asks that MPs, the government, the media and the general public call on the EPL to finally accept public scrutiny of its decision-making process.’


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