Newcastle United takeover in 'serious doubt' after fresh claims Saudi state is behind illegal streaming of sports events

The £300million takeover of Newcastle United is in ‘serious doubt’ following fresh claims the Saudi state is behind illegal streaming of sports events.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 7:38 am
Amanda Staveley.

Both the Guardian and the Daily Mail report the Premier League have been presented with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) report ruling there is a direct link between the Saudi Government and a pirate satellite TV and streaming service.

It has thrown the takeover into fresh doubt with Newcastle United fans facing an agonising wait to see whether the Premier League will approve the deal.

The Mail claim the 123-page WTO report was presented to Premier League bosses on May 11, and it claims there is a direct link between the Saudi government and pirate service beoutQ, which illegally streams Premier League matches.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

They report: “Sources close to the proposed takeover insist that any Saudi individuals subject to the owners’ and directors’ test have no ability to influence or fix broadcast piracy in the country and expect the League to recognise this.”

Financier Amanda Staveley, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the billionaire property investors David and Simon Reuben, agreed a £300million deal for the club earlier this year and lodged it with the Premier League last month.

Staveley and her backers are still waiting on approval amid objections over piracy and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

As reported, the Government’s neutral position on the deal has not changed, despite calls for parliamentary scrutiny over the issue of TV piracy in Saudi Arabia.