The proposed Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle United could be blocked by the Premier League amid allegations that their government are facilitating the commercial theft of the top flight’s international television rights.
The League last year accused Saudi Arabia of being complicit in ‘the ongoing theft of our intellectual property’ by refusing to support legal action against pirate broadcaster beoutQ, who it is claimed are broadcasting matches illegally using the state-owned Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (ArabSat) throughout the Middle East and Africa.
The Premier League have sought to engage nine separate law firms to take to legal action against beoutQ, who are streaming rights worth hundreds of millions of pounds held by beIN Sports, only to be denied jurisdiction by the Saudi government.
Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund are seeking to take control of Newcastle United
Sportsmail has been told that as the £340million Newcastle bid is backed by Saudi’s Private Investment Fund the backers could fail the Premier League’s Owners and Directors Test.
Rule F.1.6 of the Premier League handbook states that changes of ownership will be blocked if ‘in the reasonable opinion of the Board’ the prospective new owner ‘has engaged in conduct outside the United Kingdom that would constitute an offence if such conduct had taken place in the United Kingdom, whether or not such conduct resulted in a Conviction.’
Copyright theft can be treated as a criminal offence in this country.
Supporters of the Magpies have been keen to see current owner Mike Ashley (L) depart
Some Newcastle fans had been feeling optimistic over the proposed Saudi-backed takeover
Saudi Arabia already have a presence in the Premier League in Sheffield United chairman Prince Abdullah, who took full control of the club two years ago before winning a High Court battle with former owner Kevin McCabe last year which confirmed his position at Bramall Lane, but his takeover was privately funded rather than being based on government assets.
In contrast the proposed Newcastle deal that has been put together by financier Amanda Staveley would see Saudi’s Private Investment Fund acquire 80 per cent of the club.
If successful Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman would install his own representative as chairman at St James’ Park.
The deal is brokered by financier Amanda Staveley for Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund