Premier League officials are expected to deliver a final verdict on Newcastle United’s Saudi-backed takeover bid in the near future, with a positive outcome believed to be on the cards.
The deal has been delayed as a result of a number of legal issues. On top of the uproar concerning the alleged human rights abuses by Saudi Arabian officials, there are also concerns about the Saudi states involvement in the piracy of Premier League games.
90min recently revealed that the Saudi Public Investment Fund are confident that the deal will go through in the near future, and the Daily Mail state that confirmation of the agreement could come as early as this week.
It has been tricky to put a timeline on this deal as a result of the severity of the allegations against Saudi Arabia, but sources close to the deal are now thought to be confident that the Premier League are almost ready to make a final decision – assuming no other evidence against the state surfaces.
The UK government is understood to have involved themselves in the deal to try and persuade the Premier League to approve the deal as part of an active effort to strengthen relations between the UK and Saudi Arabia.
Recent weeks have seen numerous Saudi officials pledge their determination to eradicate piracy in the country, and many see this as a potential attempt to ease tension or perhaps as a requirement of any positive verdict.
The PIF are optimistic that their deal to buy Newcastle will fend off competition from American media tycoon Henry Mauriss, who is understood to have tabled a late takeover bid worth close to £350m – £50m more than the PIF have agreed to pay.
Talk of Mauriss’ bid has died down in recent days, with the focus seemingly firmly on that of the PIF, and it could be just a matter of time before the deal goes through.
An imminent decision would ensure the PIF get their wish of sitting on the throne at St. James’ Park for the 2020/21 season, and they may hope to flex their financial muscle this summer after Financial Fair Play restrictions were relaxed.