The Saudi-lead £300m takeover of Newcastle United could be completed within the next fortnight with the final hurdle being the Premier League’s owners and directors test.
Despite letters being sent to the Premier League from Amnesty International and broadcaster beIN SPORTS within the last week, no one connected to the takeover have been asked questions by the league regarding this issue as well as human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowen told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing last week that the final decision on the takeover rested with the league following calls for the committee to intervene in the takeover. However, without a shift in UK policy towards Saudi Arabia it is unlikely takeover will be blocked by anyone outside the league.
Chief executive of the Premier League Richard Masters said in a response to the Amnesty letter that the league’s processes regarding takeovers “go beyond those required by UK company law” and are applied “with equal rigour” to all clubs on an objective basis.
Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Arabian public investment fund (PIF) which will take an 80 per cent stake in the club should the deal go through, would become chairman. It is understood there will be no knee-jerk decisions regarding other senior staff which includes manager Steve Bruce.
Supporters can expect significant investment in the playing staff but also in other areas, though the new owners are said to be very mindful of the requirements to meet financial fair play regulations both at domestic and European level.