Premier League teams demand explanation over why Saudis were let into their club

October 11 – English football’s 19 other top-flight clubs have reportedly sent a joint complaint to the Premier League after it cleared the £305 million takeover of Newcastle by a Saudi Arabian-backed group.

The clubs are reported to be pushing for an emergency meeting next week as to why the Saudi-led consortium was suddenly allowed to buy the club after initially being barred from doing so – and why the other 19 received so little notice.

The Guardian newspaper says the clubs acknowledge it is too late to stop the deal that was completed last week, potentially making Newcastle the richest club in world football, but want to know why they only found out so close to the announcement.

The Premier League would doubtless argue that things changed when Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on Qatar-based beIN Sports and when it was convinced that the Saudi state would not be involved in the day-to-day running of Newcastle.

But human rights groups have strongly criticised the deal headed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Sceptics might suggest that the protest is simply sour grapes given that Newcastle look set to become a major force after years of under-achievement.

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