Government will not block Newcastle takeover as Premier League responds

The UK government have confirmed that they will not stand in the way of the imminent Saudi Arabia-funded takeover of Newcastle United if the Premier League chooses to approve the purchase. 

The Newcastle deal has already faced plenty of backlash from a number of different perspectives. Some have focused on the Saudi history of illegal broadcasting of Premier League games, while others including Amnesty International have spoken out about alleged human rights abuses. 

Amnesty International also sent a letter to the Premier League urging them not to become a safe haven for those with abysmal human rights records. 

As a response, the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters wrote back to insist that the league’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test is stricter than UK Company Law and will fully explore the allegations against the Saudi consortium. 

A similar response was also given to Support Saudi Women, who also called on the Premier League to veto the takeover because of the human rights issues. 

Apart from this, there were calls from beIN Sports to block any scope of purchase as a result of the ongoing dispute between the Premier League and the Saudi state-owned satellite provider Arabsat over the illegal broadcasting of English games. 

Arabsat has broadcasted Premier League games using the pirate channel beoutQ, which is yet to be taken down despite the English league’s best efforts. As per The Times, the Owners’ & Directors’ Test will investigate these allegations of piracy, before deciding whether they are grounds to reject the takeover. 

The league can reject a takeover if a potential owner is found to have been ‘dishonest’, complicit in crime rather than having to actually be found guilty of said crime. However, it is believed that it will not be easy to link the owners to the piracy allegations and hence there is no guarantee that the Premier League would find any kind of evidence to reject the takeover. 

Masters was adamant that a full investigation will be conducted and if they fail to find anything concrete, the deal will be tipped to be authorized in early May. 

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