Newcastle takeover 'receives boost amid Saudi Arabia piracy crackdown'

Newcastle’s £300m takeover ‘receives a boost as Saudi Arabia vows to launch crackdown on TV piracy of major sporting events’

  • The WTO slammed Saudi Arabia this week for helping to breach piracy laws 
  • The Government were urged to intervene in the £300m takeover of Newcastle 
  • But the Saudis now appear to have launched a crackdown on television piracy 
  • Broadcaste beoutQ allegedly illegally broadcasts Premier League matches 

The £300million Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United has moved a step closer to completion after the Kingdom vowed to crack down on piracy, according to reports. 

The World Trade Organisation slammed the Saudis after ruling earlier this week that they had helped to breach international piracy laws by supporting broadcaster beoutQ – which allegedly illegally broadcasts the Premier League as well as other ripped off content from UEFA, FIFA, La Liga and Wimbledon.

The UK Government had been urged to intervene and block the Saudi-led takeover unless the Kingdom adhered to international law on TV piracy, with the chair of the International Trade Select Committee Angus MacNeil having written to trade secretary Liz Truss in the wake of the WTO report.

The takeover of Newcastle has moved closer after Saudi Arabia vowed to crack down on piracy

Angus MacNeil, chair of the International Trade Select Committee, had called for action

But The Mirror report that in a seemingly significant development, the Official Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has announced it will take action to shut down the websites involved.

A statement read: ‘Within the framework of the Kingdom’s efforts to reduce violations of the right… we aim to block 231 websites that violate intellectual property regimes, with a view to shutting them down.

‘Those violating sites included a group of violations, which are sites that download and watch movies and series without obtaining a prior authorisation from the right holder, direct broadcast sites for encrypted sports channels without obtaining a prior license from the right owner… and the sites selling subscriptions and servers of TV channels encoded through IPTV.

Mike Ashley agreed the takeover two months ago, and the deal has still not been confirmed 

But after launching a crackdown, the £300million deal for Newcastle looks to be edging closer

‘The commission emphasised that these practices violate the copyright protection system and entail financial penalties and fines that may amount to 250,000 Saudi riyals, the closure of the violating site or the cancellation of the commercial license, and in some cases it amounts to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or defamation at the account of the infringer and removing the infringement.’

It could represent a watershed moment, given that it represents the first action that the Saudis have taken to acknowledge the problem in their nation.

The news will interest those involved in the Premier League’s owners and directors test who have been charged with approving the Public Investment Fund’s bid to buy 80 per cent of the Tyneside club.

The £300m Newcastle takeover has been brokered by financer Amanda Staveley

The Premier League were reportedly blocked from taking the Saudi piracy problem to court in the Kingdom nine times.

This move could be crucial in a bid to solve the huge legal block to the takeover, but perhaps only if the Premier League believe the crackdown will yield genuine results.

The Premier League also face another problem in approving the Newcastle takeover – brokered by Amanda Staveley – having seen their Middle East and North Africa broadcast deal, held by Qatar based beIN sports, devalued by piracy in Saudi. 

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