During the explosive Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) hearing last month, QC Daniel Jowell claimed that Premier League clubs had lobbied against the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcasle United.
This is some of what the lawyer said at the time:
“A number of major clubs that control or strongly influence the Premier League also joined in the lobbying against the deal. Richard Masters (Premier League chief executive) held more than one direct meeting with beIN at this time.
“We say this lobbying distorted the Premier League’s fair and objective application of the rules. The result of all of this is that PIF pulled out of the takeover.”
Jowell accused the Premier League of being unduly influenced by both beIN Sports and ‘major clubs’ in the league. BeIN Sports were negotiating a new broadcast deal when the owner’s and directors’ tests were ongoing.
Due to a prolonged dispute over piracy within Saudi Arabia, the broadcasters were supposedly using some leverage to lobby against the takeover. The piracy saga was dramatically resolved last week when Saudi Arabia agreed to pay compensation for the piracy – an agreement that in part paved the way for Newcastle’s sale to our new ownership group.
On Friday, The Guardian reported that the rest of the Premier League are demanding an emergency meeting about the takeover. According to the report, the rest of the league are ‘united in opposition’ to Newcastle’s takeover.
They want an emergency meeting to discuss why the deal was suddenly pushed through and without their foreknowledge. They are also said to be concerned that the reputation of the league could take a hit with Saudi involvement.
The Mail is also reporting that some clubs are ‘furious’ with this takeover. Though Craig Hope’s report takes aim primarily at Tottenham as being the primary agitator.
In his report, Hope claims Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is frantically trying to block Newcastle from bringing in a new sponsor. Though Levy has no power to prevent such a deal.
The report also names Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal as having lobbied against the takeover from early in the process. This is to be expected as these clubs all tried to break away and join a new European Super League just around six months ago.
They simply don’t want more competition, especially from a sleeping giant like Newcastle. They appear to be shaking in their boots at the prospect of Newcastle United backed by ambitious owners and a loyal, true fanbase.