The rumors were starting to heat up that a Friday announcement was imminent, and that the takeover was going to be approved by the Premier League. Saudi Arabia, in a rather shocking move has decided, however, to ban BEIN Sports, further complicating matters with the Premier League on the takeover status of the club.
Newcastle United has been in the news for the past four months involving the possible takeover of the club with a consortium funded mainly by Saudi Arabia’s PiF, and headed by Amanda Staveley who made an unsuccessful attempt last around two years ago to purchase the club.
The reason why this move by Saudi Arabia is so important is because the country has already come under fire for illegal streams of Premier League matches being shown within the country. Within that region, BEIN has broadcasting rights to Premier League matches, meaning without them, there is no legal way to watch matches. Banning BEIN Sports within Saudi Arabia has just made it impossible to legally watch Premier League games within the country.
From the Guardian:
“On Tuesday night, though, it emerged that the Saudi government edict related to an old legal case dating back to 2016 and both PIF and their consortium partners were completely unaware it would be issued. Although it came as a shock and the timing is regarded as unfortunate sources maintain it should not affect the Newcastle deal.”
This is all relating back to the ongoing cold war between both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, bringing further geopolitical matters into the sporting world. If both Qatar and Saudi Arabia cannot find a way to play nice with one another on broadcasting rights, Newcastle United may continue to find itself in the hands of Mike Ashley.
I’m not concerned. As the news organizations who have been reporting this stated, it all dates back to previous issues between both Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and while it unfortunately was something consortium members were unaware of (and they should have been in the loop) I do not believe it will have a drastic effect on the sale of the club.
PiF have seemed rather receptive to the measures that are going to be needed in order for them to complete the purchase of Newcastle United. If that means reversing this edict, or working on legitimizing their broadcasting efforts within the country, there has not been any sign of pushback on their part. Qatar has been rather belligerent throughout the entire process and seems to be the lone aggravator.
Let’s be patient and see what comes Friday. Something may have already been worked out that we don’t know of yet in terms of broadcasting. But I remain confident this takeover will be completed.