Saudi Arabian-led group withdraws tender to shop for Newcastle amid human rights, piracy concerns

A consortium including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has withdrawn its tender from purchasing Newcastle United off of retail entrepreneur Mike Ashley. In a remark, the group — also featuring the PCP Capital Partners and Reuben brothers — cited a lack of clarity relating to the start of the next Premier League season and an expired agreement.

“In the end, right through the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club’s owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, especially with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will occur for matches, training and other activities,” the group said in a remark, per ESPN.

The “prolonged process” in question is the league spending four months considering if to approve a 300 million pound takeover of the club. Papers regarding the takeover were submitted in April. At that same time, human rights groups were raising concerns of this purchase, saying this was once just Saudi Arabia trying to hide their maligned human rights record.

Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Economics Matters Program Director, told Sky Sports, “This deal was once at all times a blatant attempt by the government of Saudi Arabia to take a look at to sportswash its abysmal human rights record by buying into the ardour, prestige and pride of Tyneside football.

“The truth that this sportswashing tender has failed will be seen by human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia as a signal that their suffering has not been entirely overlooked.”

Also of concern was once the World Commerce Association ruling that Saudi Arabia had not done enough to prevent the piracy of sports coverage, such as Premier League games. The country had blocked moves to close down the piracy because it was once stealing from Qatar-owned beIn Sports network, a country which Saudi Arabia is in clash with on an economic and diplomatic front.

Consequently, ownership of Newcastle remains with Mike Ashley, who has faced fixed protests and opposition from supporters of his own club. Those same supporters are also upset at this outcome as, to them, this was once a way to go back to glory. The resulting inflow of cash would lead to spending sprees right through transfer windows which have only been seen by clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea. 

For context, as Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol paper money, “When you look at the Saudis’ wealth, they would have been 15 times richer than Man City, for instance. The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is worth 30 times more than [Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich.”

Naturally, then, Newcastle supporters have expressed frustration with the  criticism that the takeover was once receiving.

“The supporters of Newcastle United have been treated with contempt by large parts of the football media and the Premier League right through this failed takeover process,” the NUFC Supporters Accept as true with told Sky Sports. “It’s been made lucid that we are the least important people in a decision which affects us the most. We need answers.”

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