Premier League English

Newcastle takeover collapses

Amanda Staveley has claimed opposition from other Premier League clubs caused the Saudi-backed Newcastle takeover deal to break down.

On Thursday, the highly-touted consortium led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pulled out of a bid to buy the Premier League club with the proposed £300m purchase been withdrawn, apparently due mainly to the protracted nature of negotiations that had taken an unduly long period of time.

Staveley was at the helm of the negotiations and her PCP Capital Partners would have taken 10 per cent of the club, with another 10 per cent going to Simon and David Reuben, who are property developers.

“We are heartbroken obviously,” the businesswoman at the centre of the Saudi-backed consortium to buy Newcastle United told The Times.

“Of course we do [blame the Premier League]. They had a chance, they say we have not answered all the questions and we have done so.

“But the other clubs in the Premier League didn’t want it to happen.

“We are so heartbroken for the Newcastle fans as the investment that was going to go into the club, especially with everything happening with Brexit and COVID-19, would have been so important. This is catastrophic for them.

“It has been going on for so long and the opportunity was there.”

The deposit for the takeover had been paid to Mike Ashley, the Newcastle boss, and the full documents were sent to the Premier League for their endorsement and approval. However, further complications arose to thwart the deal after Saudi Arabia were found by the World Trade Organisation to have enabled the piracy of Premier League matches being broadcast by beIN Sport.

Staveley, however, is insistent the hurdle could have been easily overcome.

“The piracy issue was not an issue but we tried to resolve it anyway,” she said. “They [the Premier League] tried to make the state of Saudi a director. The PIF had agreed to become a director.”

However, Staveley hinted there may be a possibility of reigniting the deal.

“Do we give up now? I don’t know, there may be a way forward, but we have had to put a statement out,” she added.

“I’m trying to deal with the facts and we had to make a decision today.”