Premier League clubs seek ‘emergency meeting’ to discuss Newcastle takeover

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on October 24, 2018, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaking during a joint session of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in the capital Riyadh, which included the Crown Prince of Bahrain and the Lebanese Prime Minister. – Saudi Arabia is hosting the key investment summit overshadowed by the killing of critic Jamal Khashoggi that has prompted a wave of policymakers and corporate giants to withdraw. (Photo by Bandar AL-JALOUD / Saudi Royal Palace / AFP) /

Premier League clubs are seeking an ’emergency meeting’ to discuss the recent Newcastle United takeover, amid concerns over the swift change in circumstances that allowed the deal to go ahead.

After 18 months of obstacles and legal disputes, it was finally confirmed on Thursday evening that the Magpies would be under new ownership, with a consortium fronted by businesswoman Amanda Staveley – and backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – buying the club in a £300m deal.

The new owners had originally pulled out of the potential takeover last year over fears the deal would not be accepted by the Premier League, amid issues surrounding the piracy of games in Saudi Arabia, as well as concerns that PIF was an extension of the Saudi state.

The now-departed owner Mike Ashley took legal action against the Premier League for putting a block on the deal, with the two parties set for an arbitration hearing in January.

However, the takeover was then swiftly confirmed earlier this week following a resolution to the piracy issues and the league receiving ‘legally binding assurances‘ that the Saudi state would not control the club

That announcement has seemingly left the rest of the top-flight clubs concerned, with the Guardian reporting that the other 19 sides are demanding an ’emergency meeting’ in order to ascertain why the takeover was allowed to go ahead despite the ongoing legal battle, as well as why they were given such little notice of the deal.

The report suggests that the rest of the division are ‘united’ in their opposition to the new ownership and wish to voice their anger to the Premier League body, albeit while not attempting to ‘derail the takeover’.

The belief is that the Saudi-led consortium could ‘damage the brand’ of the league, with human rights groups vocal in their opposition to the deal, especially as the PIF is overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

As the report points out, however, there is perhaps a sense of hypocrisy given some of the other owners in the league, while there is also a feeling that rivals clubs are simply fearful of a new financial powerhouse emerging in the form of an incredibly wealthy Newcastle.

A major bone of contention for the rest of the division is said to be the lack of notice they received about the deal, with most clubs only being informed once it had been publicly announced, with the potential takeover having not been mentioned during the recent shareholders’ meeting which took place just two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Mail says that Daniel Levy ‘tried to stop the consortium bringing in a lucrative sponsor’, although he has been told that it is a ‘futile pursuit’, with the Spurs chairman believed to be one of the most vocal opponents of the Saudi investment.

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