Newcastle’s Saudi-led takeover bid was withdrawn, with the consortium criticizing the “protracted process” for its decision to withdraw.
The country’s public investment fund in the Middle East (PIF) was expected to have an 80% stake in the Premier League club, under the terms of the agreement, which was estimated to be worth just over £ 300 million.
The proposed agreement was criticized by human rights groups, while Saudi Arabia’s links to piracy of sports broadcasting rights were also analyzed.
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However, it is understood that the Premier League’s main concern was that the agreement would set a precedent to allow one of its clubs to be effectively financed by the state.
The PIF is a commercial entity, and it is understood that it has sought on several occasions to reassure the league about its independence from the country’s rulers.
It is also understood that the PIF learned in April that there were no ‘red flags’ in the agreement.
The fund was preparing to invest 250 million pounds in the club for five years and additional money to benefit the Newcastle community.
The Premier League has yet to comment on the acquisition failure.
A statement on behalf of PIF, together with PCP Capital and RB Sports & Media, that each would have a 10% stake, said: “The lengthy process under current circumstances, together with global uncertainty, has stopped investing in potential. commercially viable.
“For this, we feel the fans’ responsibility to explain the lack of alternatives from the investment point of view.
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“Finally, during the unpredictably lengthy process, the business contract between the investment group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly without clarity about the circumstances under which the next season will begin and the new rules that will emerge for games, training and other activities.
“We feel great compassion for Newcastle United fans, with whom we share a great commitment to helping Newcastle United realize its tremendous potential and develop its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community.
“We would like to say that we really appreciate your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process. We regret that it is not so.
The group was formed by Amanda Staveley, who spearheaded an unsuccessful proposal by PCP Capital Partners two years ago and said she was “heartbroken” to walk away.
Asked if she blamed the Premier League for taking too long, she told the Times: “Of course, yes. They had a chance, they say we didn’t answer all the questions and we did. But the other Premier League clubs did not want that to happen.
“We are so moved by Newcastle fans that the investment that would go to the club, especially with everything that happened with Brexit and Covid, would have been so important. This is catastrophic for them.
“This has been going on for a long time and the opportunity was there.”
Staveley added: “Do we give up now? I don’t know, there may be a way forward, but we had to make a statement. I’m trying to deal with the facts and we had to make a decision today. “
The league was warned by human rights group Amnesty International that it “risked becoming a patsy” if it allowed the acquisition and the organization asked for a change in the rules after the deal was closed.
Peter Frankental, director of the United Kingdom’s Amnesty Economic Affairs Program, said on Thursday: “This deal has always been a blatant attempt by the Saudi Arabian government to try to sportively wash away its terrible human rights record, by buying passion, prestige and Tyneside football pride.
“The fact that this offer for sports washing has failed will be seen by human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia as a sign that their suffering has not been completely forgotten.”
Frankental added: “Looking to the future, there needs to be a rule change to ensure that testing of Premier League owners and directors offers an adequate analysis of the human rights records of those trying to buy in English football, especially when buyers are governments or government representatives. “
The piracy issue was also particularly complicated, although Staveley said it was not a problem with the acquisition – although it was something they tried to resolve anyway.
The Premier League tried repeatedly and failed to obtain legal redress against the illegal broadcaster before the Q through the Saudi system.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia appealed a report by the World Trade Organization, which found that it had facilitated the activities of beoutQ.
Saudi officials also suspended the beIN SPORTS broadcast license earlier this month, which meant that there was no legal means to watch Premier League football in the country until 2022, at the very least.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is understood to have received a £ 17 million non-refundable deposit as part of the deal earlier this year.