Saudi Arabian-backed consortium pulls out of bid to buy Newcastle United

Ian MacNicol  Getty Images

Ian MacNicol Getty Images

"The Premier League wanted the country, Saudi, to become a director of the football club".

In a letter to the British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, Oliver Dowden, FERW said: "The prospective purchase of Newcastle United by a consortium, which is 80 percent owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, is concerning due to their poor human rights record".

But in a statement, Charnley seemed to suggest the deal could be resurrected.

The investment group of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers, David and Simon Reuben, cited the long period since a deal was struck with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley in April and the impact of coronavirus for pulling out.

"We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process".

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The controversy encompassing the deal was ramped up after Amnesty International and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, wrote to the Premier League to oppose it. "Never say never but to be clear Mike Ashley is 100 per cent committed to this deal (sale)", Charnley said. "However our current focus must now be on supporting (manager) Steve Bruce in the transfer market and on the preparations for the new season", he said. This will cut very deep.

There has been opposition to the deal from human rights campaigners concerned about Saudi Arabia's welfare practices, while matters were complicated further when the World Trade Organization published a report that found representatives of the Kingdom had facilitated the breach of piracy laws through broadcasting network beoutQ.

She was critical of the Premier League for not approving the takeover and blamed other clubs for opposing it.

"They [the Premier League] tried to make the state of Saudi a director". Former Newcastle and England forward Alan Shearer told the BBC on Friday that disappointed fans were hoping that a new owner would yet emerge.

The collapse of the takeover will be a bitter blow to many Newcastle fans, who had dreamed that the riches of a Saudi-backed project could replicate Manchester City's success in winning four Premier League titles since Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008.

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