Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has finally spoken out about the Newcastle United takeover saga.
It finally reached a conclusion last month, with PIF, Amanda Staveley and Jamie Reuben completing a deal to buy the Magpies.
The saga lasted more than a year, with a deal first being agreed with Mike Ashley in April 2020.
But issues emerged in the Owners’ and Directors’ test, leaving the deal at a standstill. PIF walked away, then Ashley launched two legal challenges against the Premier League.
Then on October 7th, the deal was dramatically approved. So what changed?
Masters explains why the Newcastle takeover was approved
The day before the takeover went through, news emerged that the piracy row between BeIN Sport and Saudi Arabia had been resolved. This was seen as a monumental moment that could lead to a deal being resurrected.
The following day the deal was completed. However, Masters has stated that the piracy row had nothing to do with it.
“The issue was about control. So we resolved the issue of control,” Masters said in an interview with the BBC’s Dan Roan.
When asked if the Premier League would know if the chairman of PIF and crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman was telling people what to do with Newcastle, Masters’ response was somewhat vague.
“In that instance I don’t think we would know it’s happening. But I don’t think it is going to happen, we’ve been given the assurances, and there are ways of ensuring we are comfortable and satisfied that that remains the case.”
Why wasn’t piracy the deal-breaker?
It seems odd that the piracy row wasn’t the issue that stopped the takeover going through. Surely it can’t just be a coincidence that the day after it was resolved, the Newcastle deal was approved.
But Masters maintains that the issue was about control, and suddenly they have assurances that Mohammed Bin Salman will not be running the club.
If that’s the case, why couldn’t they get these assurances last year when the deal was first on the table? That would have been much better for Newcastle, who are now battling relegation after Mike Ashley effectively down tools and put all his efforts into selling the club.
Luckily for him the deal was approved. Now PIF, Staveley and Reuben must pick up the pieces and rebuild a club that has been wildly neglected.
The Newcastle United takeover saga was like no other. While Masters wasn’t popular with Toon fans for his role in proceedings, I do not envy the position he was put in.
But at the end of the day, the Premier League are the ones who approved the deal and allowed the takeover to go through. It’s what Toon fans wanted, and here’s hoping Masters’ trust isn’t misplaced.