Newcastle United fans react to what WTO’s director-general said when asked about prospective takeover

    Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund remain confident that their £300 million bid to buy Newcastle United will be approved by the English Premier League.

    It’s been more than two months since the EPL started carrying out its Owners’ and Directors’ Test on the would-be Magpies owners, and Saudis links with broadcast piracy have remained a key issue.

    The World Trade Organisation has ruled that the Kingdom is behind beoutQ – a pirate pay-television broadcaster that simulcasts the programming of Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sport – and a report has already been sent to the Premier League.

    A verdict on the Newcastle takeover is expected to be made once the WTO report is made public, and the organization’s DG has commented on it.

    “I can’t tell you exactly when, but it’s going to come,” WTO’s director-general, Roberto Azevedo, said when asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr if they are going to be ruling on Saudis links with piracy this week.

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    “The dispute is still ongoing, it’s still under confidential procedures and therefore I cannot comment at all on the subject. But that’s one of the good things about the WTO. Very sensitive issues like that can be dealt with. There will be a ruling. Our members are going to respond to those rulings.

    “It’s entirely up to them but this is one way of depoliticising and reducing the tension on very critical issues like those.”

    The WTO DG further commented when asked about how serious they take piracy:

    “Well, very serious. I think our agreement on intellectual property rights is very clear, that those are fundamental rights as far as the functioning of the global economy is concerned.

    “These rules have been put in place not by accident. They have been put in place because they are to be observed and I think our members recognise that and exceptional situations will soon be dealt with.”

    His comments haven’t revealed much, but they have got curious Newcastle fans talking nevertheless, and here is how some of them reacted on Twitter:

    The Premier League will have to decide whether Saudis’ alleged support of piracy is enough to reject PIF’s Newcastle takeover bid, and more importantly, if the owners/directors the Amanda Staveley-led consortium have nominated can be linked with it.

    American businessman Henry Mauriss will be keeping tabs on how things go, and he is getting ready to make his own bid should the Saudis £300 million bid fail.

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