Newcastle United were threatened with being kicked out of the Premier League in the build-up to blocking a Saudi Arabia takeover of the club, a tribunal has heard.
The Saudi Arabia-backed consortium tried to buy the club from Mike Ashley in a £300million deal last summer but eventually walked away after a dispute with the Premier League as to who would own the club.
And Sports lawyer Daniel Jowell QC, representing Newcastle in the club’s Competition Appeal Tribunal case, stated on Wednesday that top-flight officials threatened the Magpies with expulsion while the club struggled with the league to get a takeover over the line.
Jowell also stated in the hearing that media organisation BeIn Sports and a “number of major Premier League clubs joined in lobbying against the takeover deal."
Ruling leader Mohammed bin Salman chairs the Public Investment Fund (PIF) aiming to provide funds for the deal but the Premier League says it needed a "clear determination as to which entities it believed would have control over the club" after the proposed purchase.
That's because the PIF and the Saudi government are 'inextricably' linked, meaning the league wanted high-level Saudi officials to be submitted for their Owners' and Directors' Test.
The situation was made even more complex by the fact that the Qatari-led BeIn sports was also locked in dispute with the Saudis over piracy surrounding Premier League matches, which Bein holds the rights for.
Speaking on the Premier League’s threat, Jowell said: "Notwithstanding its threats, the Premier League hasn't carried through its threat to stop the club from participating in the competition."
He went on to add that this led to an “unfair application of rules” and “abuse of its position which distorted competition”.
Do you think the Premier League was right to threaten Newcastle over the Saudi takeover? Let us know in the comments section.
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It was also revealed in the online CAT hearing, which was watched by thousands, that Newcastle have suffered a £10million loss between the initial £340million bid and the current market value.
Jowell claimed that other “credible offers” had been received by the club since the deal’s collapse in 2020.
Newcastle have been involved in two legal disputes with the Premier League since the deal collapsed, one being the CAT hearing and another being a separate arbitration about who would run the club.
The arbitration was set to being on January 3, according to Premier League representative Adam Lewis QC.
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