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Newcastle United consulting lawyers after Premier League clubs vote to restrict commercial deals

1 month ago
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On Tuesday, Premier League clubs finally voted on new rules concerning related party sponsorship deals.

A temporary ban had been put in place on such deals in October as Premier League clubs reacted to the Newcastle United takeover.

The other clubs looking to make it as difficult as possible for the new Newcastle United owners to start the recovery process after the damage done by a decade and a half of Mike Ashley neglect.

Yesterday’s vote now allows Premier League clubs to once again sign up deals with related parties BUT with conditions attached.

Newcastle United and Manchester City voted against these new regulations and The Mail report that both clubs are now consulting with their legal teams, as they consider taking legal action.

The two clubs consider the new rules to be anti-competitive and open to conflicts of interest.

The new rules mean that all new commercial deals need to be submitted to the Premier League Board for approval, and

How it is supposed to now work, is that an ‘independent’ company will decide whether any proposed deal is of fair market value.

This ‘independent’ company given access a database of all deals at the other Premier League clubs, to then determine if they think is artificially high.

How The Mail illustrate it working with regards to NUFC is…’A shirt sponsorship deal or stadium naming rights deal involving Newcastle, for example, would have to be of a similar level to those paid to the likes of Everton, Aston Villa or Leeds United. Newcastle argue this is anti-competitive however, and have the support of City.’

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported on what had happened and been said at and around the meeting of Premier League clubs, saying: ‘Among Newcastle’s objections were that the associated party rules were, one source said, an “administrative nightmare”. For instance, they limit the size of commercial deals but not the number of those deals that could potentially be signed.’

I think that pretty much sums this all up, an ‘administrative nightmare’ in terms of actually monitoring the deals. It seems to me like a classic case of these Premier League clubs sitting around and making rules up that in theory sound easy to implement BUT in practice, will be a complete (impossible?) nightmare.

The Telegraph also report that: ‘Newcastle raised concerns about the practicability of anonymising data. It is understood that they also questioned whether the Premier League, which competes for commercial partners itself, sometimes in competition with its clubs, could have an unfair advantage.’

The 18 Premier League clubs (not Newcastle and Man City) have certainly made it difficult for the new Newcastle United owners to make commercial moves as quickly as they may have liked. However, whether this stands up longer-term remains to be seen, with clearly so many Premier League clubs acting together, specifically against one, at the most, two clubs.

The Premier League cartel may have won the battle but it remains to be seen whether they will win this particular war.

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