Newcastle United’s season is over, and as expected, full attention is being given to Newcastle United’s potential takeover by a consortium led by Amanda Staveley, and largely funded by PiF, the financial arm of the Saudi Royal Family. As the takeover remains at a standstill, a lot of blame is being thrown around.
Some blame has been thrown at the UK Government for potential involvement in the takeover, and that there has been more interference on their end than previously reported. The UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston had this quote, reported by Sky Sports:
“I’m very uncomfortable with the level of expectation of involvement on government with things that are very clearly decisions for football.”
Attempting to distance from the clown show that has been the Premier League’s performance on the takeover makes sense, however, I find it disingenuous.
The UK government has nearly as much at stake with this takeover as Newcastle United, or even the Premier League. Denying the Saudi Royal Family a stake in a Premier League club could cause political repercussions, and the UK is acutely aware of Saudi Arabia’s human rights track record.
Attempting to distance yourself from the Premier League’s decision on the matter shows that either you’ve wiped your hands clean to avoid any blame, or you aren’t even distancing yourself, but rather quietly attempting to shape the narrative of the whole thing. One of the most powerful governments in the world, and they won’t seek to have a say in the sale of a club to a foreign actor? I find that to be funny.
The UK government here is clearly attempting to play victim, and state that any blame on them for the stall in the takeover is misplaced because clearly this is a football matter, and has nothing to do with matters of state. That’s not true and you know it, I know it, and the UK government knows it.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the stall in this takeover; the Premier League, PiF, and yes, the UK government.