The Premier League’s handling of the Newcastle United takeover has came under scrutiny from MPs on Tuesday morning.
Chief Executive Richard Masters appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.
Masters was quizzed on all kinds of subjects by MPs but the Newcastle United takeover saga was high on the agenda.
The deal sees Amanda Staveley set to hold a 10% stake, the Reuben brothers another 10%, with the Saudi PIF the other 80%.
That 80% part of the takeover, obviously assumed to be the cause of this delay of three months and counting since the deal was passed to the Premier League for their approval.
The main theme from Masters is that this is a confidential process and not able to go into specifics of the Newcastle United takeover.
However, the PL CEO did say: ‘We have always said those processes are confidential and when they drag on, there is a requirement for information…’
Looking on the positive side, whilst the delay is so frustrating, to me, the comments from Richard Masters today, suggest that they are waiting on certain things to be put in place before the deal can be approved / announced, rather than there being anything that will block it going through.
Asked specifically about TV piracy, Masters said: ‘Beoutq is now off the air and what we want to do, is for Saudi Arabia is to respond positively to the situation and to allow sports rights holders to protect their rights.’
Saudi Arabia responding positively to Premier League requests appears to be key to the whole thing and all the indications are that they are doing so, including those public statements from official Saudi organisations on TV piracy and Intellectual Property, that followed the WTO report.
Richard Masters answering questions on the Newcastle United takeover from MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee:
“Sometimes things get complicated…
“There are legal requirements that need to be observed.
“In a perfect world, takeovers would happen cleanly, clearly and in a timely fashion.
“However, sometimes things get complicated.
“I appreciate the concerns about this uncertainty but I cannot comment in terms of the timing [of when it will be completed], or of the specifics. [of the Newcastle United takeover].
“It is an entirely confidential process involving due diligence and the application of the [Premier League’s] owner and director tests.
“We have always said those processes are confidential and when they drag on, there is a requirement for information…
“So it is difficult to keep a constant dialogue with fans on what is an entirely confidential process, difficult to make any comment…
“We can’t provide a running commentary on things and I can’t talk about the specifics.
“There are legal requirements in place that need to be observed.”
Asked specifically about alleged Saudi TV piracy:
“Beoutq is now off the air and what we want to do, is for Saudi Arabia is to respond positively to the situation and to allow sports rights holders to protect their rights”