It was once called the fit and proper person test.
That’s what an owner had to undergo before they could own an English League club and one that presumably Mike Ashley passed way back in 2007 when he took over Newcastle.
The test is now called the owners’ and directors’ test and simply checks that the owner has no criminal background, and then it’s all about the finances they have.
It’s general for all English clubs and the specific test for the Premier League is set out in Section F of the Premier League Handbook.
This is what former Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore has said about the owners’ and directors’ test for the Premier League:
“There are some people who don’t run the clubs very well but that’s not what the owners’ and directors’ test covers.”
“The test is based on two things fundamentally – have you committed any of the crimes that say you cannot possibly own a club, and then it’s down to the finances.”
“We spend a lot of money on this and find out things the investment banks can’t find out sometimes. We have very deep and resourceful intelligence networks.”
Most owners can get through the checks reasonably quickly if they have no criminal background and can show they have plenty of money.
But it still can take up to two weeks, and it’s uncertain whether the Bin Zayed Group have reached that point.
The Chronicle today are saying the Premier League have said they are not at that point.
But we haven’t heard that one before with the Bin Zayed Group saying they are undergoing “the so-called fit-and-proper (person) Premier League process – which is the old name for the test.
In fact, the Chronicle are still reporting every single day that Mike Ashley is still waiting for an official offer to come from the Bin Zayed Group.
That has everybody so confused, given what the Bin Zayed Group have said publicly.
This is what Director Midhat Kidwai of the Bin Zayed Group put out in late May:
“In consideration of the numerous speculations in regards to the timelines of the acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club by Bin Zayed Group, we feel the need to issue this statement.”
“Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley; these terms have been reflected in a document, signed by both parties, which has been forwarded to the Premier League.”
“The proof of funds statement was forwarded to Mike Ashley’s lawyers on 17 April 2019.”
“The so-called fit-and-proper Premier League process is a standard procedure which will take time, and we are doing all we can to assist the Premier League during this process.”
“We feel the need to clarify this point in order for the fans and the general public to understand the timelines.”
Since then, the creation of the Monochrome Acquisition Limited holding company has happened.
That definitely suggested a takeover was in progress.
But nobody outside the two parties knows precisely what is happening and all we can do is wait for something to happen.
Unfortunately, that’s been the situation at Newcastle since our last game of the season back on May 12th, with not one word of communication coming from the club.