Newcastle United fans are once on red alert as one of the longest takeover sagas in football history takes yet another sharp u-turn.
After months of silence following the Saudi Arabia-financed consortium's decision to walk away from the takeover bid, it is now firmly back in the spotlight after the events of the last two weeks.
Days ago we heard Toon owner Mike Ashley, through his company St James' Holdings' Ltd (SJHL), claim for damages at a Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) case against the Premier League.
Now, Saudi Arabia are ready to settle their piracy war with Premier League broadcast partners beIN Sports, based in Qatar – in turn removing a huge commercial obstacle when it comes to the takeover.
So where do Newcastle, Mike Ashley, Steve Bruce, the Saudis and fans stand with this new revelation?
beIN Sports piracy
A major roadblock for the NUFC takeover was always the ongoing dispute being Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Qatar filed complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) back in 2018, accusing Saudi Arabia of blocking beIN – a Qatari company – from broadcasting in the kingdom.
beIN Sports broadcasts Premier League games across the world, leaving the Premier League in a tight spot when it came to passing the takeover last year.
Saudi Arabia vowed to stop piracy of PL games last year but Qatar denied they had acted on their commitment.
The decision to now end the four-and-a-half year ban in Saudi Arabia removes a huge commercial obstacle when it comes to the Newcastle takeover.
Will the Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle United go through? Let us know in the comments section
After last week's CAT case, in which Ashley claimed losses have been "substantial and exceed £10m" since the takeover collapsed, it was announced arbitration would take place on January 3, 2022.
While the beIN Sports resolution is positive for the takeover, it does not solve the issue that has always troubled the Premier League.
The Premier League has always maintained it cannot pass the takeover through its Owners' & Directors' Test until they can determine whether the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) are two separate entities.
However, a source has reportedly told the Daily Mail they expect the takeover to now go through – and arbitration may not be needed.
"Now, though, with the issue of piracy resolved, it is unlikely that arbitration is needed. There is no rule which says a state cannot be connected to the ownership of a football club," they reportedly told the publication.
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Steve Bruce's future
Little has been made public about the potential new owners' plans for the management of the club.
But it is difficult to imagine Newcastle's prospective owners watching them languish in the relegation zone without making a change in the dugout.
Becoming one of the richest clubs in football, the Magpies would be able to attract some of the biggest names in the sport.
As for Steve Bruce at present, fans on Tyneside have made their feelings clear in recent days.
With Newcastle still yet to win this season, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust conducted a snap survey, in which 94 per cent of 5000 surveyed said they wanted Bruce to be dismissed.
96 per cent also thought the club were likely to be relegated.
- Newcastle United FC
- Saudi Arabia
- Mike Ashley
- Premier League
- Steve Bruce
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