Newcastle: Prospective owners maintain £300m deal will be completed, despite damaging piracy allegations


Sources close to Newcastle United’s takeover have told talkSPORT their £300million bid WILL NOT be affected by new allegations over their apparent role in a pirate TV network.

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), led by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, has made a £300m cash bid to buy the Magpies from Mike Ashley.

There has been plenty of opposition to the takeover bid, with Amnesty International accusing the Middles Eastern kingdom of ‘trying to sportswash their abysmal human rights records’, while the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has urged the Premier League to block the Saudis’ Toon takeover.

And another hurdle has emerged this week, with the World Trade Organisation claiming the country is behind a pirate satellite TV and steaming service offering illegal access to sporting events – including Premier League matches.

In a report that has apparently been handed to Premier League officials, the WTO claim to have established an illegal link between the beoutQ piracy service and the Saudis.

It is claimed these allegations COULD see PIF fail to pass the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.

However, the link has been denied by the country, as well as Newcastle’s prospective Saudi majority owners.

Many Newcastle fans have been left questioning just what is going on, with many beginning to fear another false dawn following news this weekend that Premier League officials are yet to examine the bid.

But on Wednesday morning Jim White got in touch with a source linked with the bidding party, asking if this latest situation with the WTO has affected their bid.

He said: “Their answer was, ‘no, we think not’.”

And he explained how the Premier League are in the driving seat over whether the takeover will go ahead, and they will be taking the piracy allegations seriously.

“It doesn’t really matter how seriously the buyers are taking it, what matters is what the Premier League think,” he said.

“You said there, Jim, that you’ve spoken to some people close to the buying side, as have I, and to be fair to them their message has been consistent for a number of weeks now.

“They don’t anticipate any problems, they’re very hopeful of the deal going through, they’re certainly working on the proviso that it will be passed and they’re making their plans for the football club, which is all very encouraging if you want to believe this takeover is going to go through.

“But there are also voices out there of course who are more in opposition to this and do believe that the issue of piracy in Saudi Arabia is a very real issue.

“And of course it’s an issue, you’ve only got to look at the fact the Premier League on nine separate occasions have tried to bring legal action against the Saudi state with regards to  the issue of illegal streaming of Premier League football on the country, it’s got to be a serious consideration.

“A lot of people out there are saying journalists are contradicting themselves – they’re saying one minute it’s fine and the next minute it’s not – but we’re not contradicting each other.

“What we are doing is providing two sides of the story. Sources on one side do not think this will be a problem, but other sources say it will be a problem, and as journalists we’re merely reporting all the information we can get.

“To give an honest answer, I don’t know if this takeover will go through. Only the Premier League know what they’re thinking.”

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