Who’s the boss? Saudis struggle to win PL sanction for £300m Newcastle buy

July 28 – The long drawn out proposed £300 million takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi Arabian-led consortium spearheaded by the country’s Public Investment Fund looks on the brink of collapse as confusion increases over who will actually control the club and their links with the Saudi government.

The prospective buyers had hoped to quickly clear the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test but no conclusion has been reached after months of talks. The club is now in limbo over how to proceed during the summer transfer window.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that PIF, who want an 80%, are “struggling to satisfy” the Premier League over the ownership hierarchy.

The paper says that as things stand now the deal is “gridlocked” as the Premier League wants greater clarity over the relationship between PIF and the Saudi authorities who have come in for relentless criticism over broadcasting piracy and human rights issues.

Just to complicate matters, it has also been reported that Newcastle boss Mike Ashley has been talking to the American businessman, Henry Mauriss, about a possible counter bid.

Earlier this month a group of cross-party British parliamentarians launched an 11th hour bid to stop the deal. The English Premier League “should do everything in its power to bring individuals carrying out human rights abuses to account”, according to the letter from eight MPs to Richard Masters, the league’s chief executive.

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