Prem hit back at Newcastle as bitter Saudi takeover row escalates… but open door to £300m deal still being completed


FURIOUS Prem chiefs hit back and accused Newcastle of lying about the failed Saudi takeover.

In a stunning and blunt statement, League bosses accused the Toon of deliberately misleading fans after the £300million deal foundered this summer.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley had accused League chief executive Richard Masters of orchestrating the efforts to stymie the planned deal.

Ashley also claimed the Prem had officially rejected the proposal, ruling the Saudi-led consortium had failed their Owners and directors Test.

But in a brutal response the league issued a statement completely dismissing any allegations.

And Prem bosses insisted Newcastle had been been deliberately spreading falsehoods about how the deal fell through.

In a statement, it said: “The Premier League was disappointed and surprised by the Newcastle United Football Club statement regarding its potential takeover.

“The club’s assertion that the Premier League has rejected the takeover is incorrect.”

League bosses have not levelled such a direct accusation at a member club since West ham were fined £5m for misleading Prem chiefs over the Carlos Tevez affair in 2006, when incorrect statements about the Argentine’s contract were given.

Ashley had pointed a finger directly at League chief executive Richard Masters for the collapse of the proposed deal.

The Saudi state Public Investment Fund, headed by ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was due to stump up 80 per cent of the cash with 10 per cent each from the billionaire Reuben Brothers and Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners.

But the bid collapsed over the Saudi state’s involvement in “piracy” of the broadcasts by the League’s official Middle East partners, Qatar-based beIN Sport.

A World Trade Organisation report, delivered during the process, fingered the Saudis, who then banned beIN from broadcasting in the country.

The Prem statement went on: “The Premier League Board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition.

“That opinion is based on legal advice.

“This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information.

“They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board. As an alternative, the Board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June.”

Toon fans have accused Masters of letting them and the club down over the proposed deal and also suggested that he has bent to the will of the “Big Six”, arguing those clubs fear the threat of a newly-enriched Newcastle.

But the statement calls Newcastle’s bluff, with Ashley now under pressure to prove his claim that the League rejected the bid rather than the Saudis pulling out, as they had themselves announced.


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