sport news Newcastle United's £300m Saudi takeover - what next for the club, Steve Bruce ...

sport news Newcastle United's £300m Saudi takeover - what next for the club, Steve Bruce ...
sport news Newcastle United's £300m Saudi takeover - what next for the club, Steve Bruce ...

The £300million Saudi takeover of Newcastle United has finally been concluded and it promises to have seismic consequences on Tyneside and far beyond.

Mike Ashley's 14-year ownership of the St James' Park club will now draw to a close as the Premier League officially sign off the deal, with the new owners eager to get straight down to work.

But how has the takeover come about, why did it take so long to complete and what are the implications for everyone involved? Sportsmail answers all your questions.

The takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, has finally been completed

The takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, has finally been completed  

Mike Ashley's (left) 14-year reign as owner of Newcastle United has come to a close

Mike Ashley's (left) 14-year reign as owner of Newcastle United has come to a close

What changed in order for the takeover to be completed now?

The buy-out - led by Saudi's Public Investment Fund (PIF) and involving British financier Amanda Staveley and British property investors Simon and David Reuben - stalled in the summer of 2020.

That was because the consortium were unable to prove there was separation between themselves and the Saudi state, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But now the Premier League has received assurances the state will not be directly involved in the running of Newcastle, the deal can be given the green light.

The Premier League's chief objection to the involvement of the Saudi state was their belief they have been behind the piracy of broadcast coverage of their games over several years.

How has the piracy issue been resolved?

Saudi Arabia has settled its dispute with the Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports, removing the final obstacle to the Newcastle deal going through.

BeIN Sports is the Premier League's official broadcaster throughout the Middle East but their channels have been banned in Saudi Arabia for four years, with games instead shown illegally on pirate channels.

The Saudi state was believed to be behind the piracy of beIN Sport channels in the country

The Saudi state was believed to be behind the piracy of beIN Sport channels in the country

The Premier League could hardly approve a takeover of one of their clubs by investors from a country where they believe the state was behind the piracy of their product.

The black-out in Saudi Arabia was a huge issue for the Qatari broadcaster who were losing out in their biggest market in the region and it formed part of a wider political dispute between the two countries.

However now Saudi Arabia is understood to have told beIN Sports it wants to settle the legal cases concerning the piracy - including an arbitration worth $1billion (about £737million) - and the broadcaster's objections made to the Premier League have been dropped.

The Saudi government has promised to close pirate websites operating in the country having been presented with a list of them by beIN.

A source told Sportsmail: 'If all of this had been done 18 months ago, the takeover would have been signed off already.

'The Premier League could not approve a takeover whereby one of its member clubs would be owned by a state it believed to be guilty of piracy against the league and one of its broadcast partners.

'The League has tried to sue the Saudi state nine times in relation to piracy.'

The resolution of the piracy issue plus assurances that the Saudi state would not be directly involved in running Newcastle United saw the Premier League give the green light

The resolution of the piracy issue plus assurances that the Saudi state would not be directly involved in running Newcastle United saw the Premier League give the green light

But is it really possible to separate the Saudi state from the Newcastle deal?

This is the big question. After all the PIF, which is expected to take a majority 80 per cent stake in Newcastle, is a sovereign wealth fund overseen by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi media minister, Majed al-Qasabi, also sits on the PIF board and he was involved in resolving the piracy issue.

We know that Bin Salman lobbied British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year after objections were raised - telling him 'we expect the English Premier League to reconsider and correct its wrong conclusion' - and warned Anglo-Saudi relations could be damaged if they didn't.

So despite written assurances sent to the Premier League that the state won't be directly involved, it's difficult to see how they won't influence things.

Buying Newcastle could be regarded as part of Bin Salman's Vision 2030, a programme which is designed to refocus the Saudi economy towards tourism and entertainment, deflecting focus on their human rights record.

Crown Prince Bin Salman pictured with Boris Johnson - Bin Salman warned Johnson that Anglo-Saudi relations could be affected if the Premier League didn't approve the takeover

Crown Prince Bin Salman pictured with Boris Johnson - Bin Salman warned Johnson that Anglo-Saudi relations could be affected if the Premier League didn't approve the takeover

The takeover won't go down well with human rights campaigners?

Absolutely not and the Premier League can expect some fierce criticism for allowing the takeover to go through.

Intelligence services in the United States have named Bin Salman as signing off on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Amnesty International has condemned the Saudi attempts at 'sportswashing' or efforts to divert attention from humans rights violations by staging sports events such as boxing or Formula One in

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