August 5 – More than 70,000 outraged fans of English sleeping giant Newcastle have signed a petition demanding the Premier League explain its handling of the proposed Saudi-led £300 million take-over deal that collapsed last week.
Plagued by a combination of broadcasting piracy accusations and alleged human rights violations by the Saudi kingdom, the deal, which would have seen Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund gain an 80% stake in the club, was finally halted after the Premier League prevaricated for four months over whether to approve it.
The consortium is understood to have run out of patience after the Premier League sought more answers about who would have ultimate responsibility for club decisions.
PIF were set to invest 80% of the money, with a further 10% each provided by consortium leader Amanda Staveley and property owners the Reuben Brothers.
On Monday, the Reuben brothers were said to “remain totally supportive of the deal should there be a way forward”, according to Martin Cruddace, chief executive of the Reuben Brothers-owned Arena Racing Company.
The petition calls on the British government to launch an investigation into the process, which leaves Newcastle facing the 2020/21 campaign still under current owner Mike Ashley after another false dawn in terms of him selling the club.
The fans want an explanation as to why the takeover bid remained in limbo for so long.
“After recent events leading to the unsuccessful takeover attempt of Newcastle United, this petition aims to engage the United Kingdom (UK) government in establishing an independent investigation into the English Premier League (EPL) takeover process and Richard Masters who was fundamental in orchestrating the deal,” the petition says.
“The takeover negotiations came to a halt on 30th July 2020 after the Saudi backed consortium withdrew their interest with one of the key reasons being the ‘Prolonged Process’. This announcement was released after 4 months without a decision.”
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