Newcastle’s Saudi takeover hearing adjourned until next year

  • Arbitration with Premier League reaches impasse
  • Owner Mike Ashley hoping to force deal through

The arbitration hearing between Newcastle United and the Premier League, intended to resolve the legitimacy or otherwise of the club’s blocked £300m Saudi Arabian led takeover, has reached an impasse.

In a joint statement Newcastle and the Premier League on Monday night announced the hearing had been adjourned until early 2022 because of “issues with the disclosure of evidence”.

Mike Ashley, Newcastle’s owner, had initiated the legal action in the hope of forcing through the buy out which collapsed last summer but it has now hit another wall. “The parties attended a hearing today [Monday] in the case between Newcastle United and the Premier League,” read the statement. “The main hearing of the arbitration has regrettably now been adjourned until early 2022 due to issued with the disclosure of evidence. The parties will be making no further comment until this time.”

Last month Newcastle had applied for the claim to be heard in a public forum and insisted it had “nothing to hide” from such transparency but it is believed there was a reluctance to disclose particular pieces of evidence on the part of both sides.

On Monday night, though, the husband of the consortium member Amanda Staveley – who, along with Reuben Brothers, has joined Saudi’s Public Investment Fund in launching the bid – reacted angrily to the delay.

In a social media post Mehrad Ghodussi wrote: “There’s only one party playing games here. Hashtag Premier League.”

It remains unclear how Steve Bruce’s transfer summer transfer plans at St James’ Park will be affected as Ashley is understood to have previously told the consortium to be prepared to take over in time for the new season kicking off in August. Bruce is still to make a close-season signing and is awaiting a breakthrough in his endeavours to re-sign the midfielder Joe Willock on loan from Arsenal.

The takeover originally collapsed last year when, amid concerns regarding alleged Saudi broadcast piracy, the potential buyers were unable to successfully complete the Premier League owners and director’s test with the ruling body indicating there was insufficient separation between the Saudi state and PIF.

Meanwhile Newcastle are also engaged in a different, separate, case against the Premier League lodged with the Competition Appeals Tribunal. That action centres on a claim that preventing the takeover amount to a breach of competition rules.


Louise Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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