Newcastle takeover: Premier League chief finally explains failure of £300m Saudi deal

Premier League CEO Richard Masters has finally broken his silence to open up about the failed takeover of Newcastle by a Saudi-led consortium.

Last month Newcastle were rocked when the consortium of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers withdrew their bid to buy the club for £300million.

The group had first approached owner Mike Ashley in April but a takeover which should have been a straight forward soon became disrupted by opposition to the deal.

As the weeks went by with no clarity, Masters refused to interfere in the confidential process.

And following the announcement that the takeover was off, the Premier League remained silent.

That sparked greater frustration on Tyneside with fans demanding answers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson then weighed and called on the league to make a statement.

And Masters has opted to respond to a series of questions from Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah.

In a letter, Masters confirmed the deal broke down due to doubts over which persons would be in charge of the club.

He wrote: “In June, the Premier League board made a clear determination as to which entities it believed would have control over the club following the proposed acquisition, in accordance with the Premier League rules.

“Subsequently, the Premier League then asked each such person or entity to provide the Premier League with additional information, which would then have been used to consider the assessment of any possible disqualifying events.

“In this matter, the consortium disagreed with the Premier League’s determination that one entity would fall within the criteria requiring the provision of this information.

“The Premier League recognised this dispute, and offered the consortium the ability to have the matter determined by an independent arbitral tribunal if it wished to challenge the conclusion of the board.

“The consortium chose not to take up that offer, but nor did it procure the provision of the additional information.

“Later, it [or PIF specifically] voluntarily withdrew from the process.”

There were also suggestions several Premier League clubs weighed in to express their opposition to the takeover.

But Masters confirmed there was no influence from rival teams in th process.

He said: “The owners’ and directors’ test is delegated to and carried out entirely by the Premier League board.

“Other member clubs have no role whatsoever in the approval process.”