Newcastle United takeover: This is what Mike Ashley and St James' Holdings are seeking in anti-competition claim against the Premier League

Newcastle United’s anti-competition claim against the Premier League has a new date.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 3:32 pm
St James's Park, home of Newcastle United. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Mike Ashley has made a claim under section 47A of the 1988 Competition Act following the Premier League’s failure to make a timely decision on the approval of a proposed £300million takeover last year.

The Premier League made an application in the summer to contest the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

And this application will now be heard on Wednesday, September 29 from 10.30am.

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This hearing - which fans will be able to watch live on a stream - will decide whether the claim can go forward.

An update on the CAT website read: “Claim under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998.

“On 11 June 2021 the Defendant made an application to contest the Tribunal's jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 34 of the Tribunal Rules. The hearing of the application listed for 27 September 2021 has been relisted for 29 September 2021.”

The takeover saga has been rumbling on for 18-months with fans in desperate hope of a speedy resolution soon.

There are hopes it could take a step forward next week but the decision over whether the claim can proceed, to be heard next week, could also be subject to an appeal which could further delay the process.

In the meantime, Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United side continue to struggle on the pitch. They are winless this season so far.

What’s the background?

The St James' Holdings vs the FA Premier League claim – submitted to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) - alleges the Premier League were in infringement of articles 101 and 102 of the Competition Act 1998.

The CAT is a specialist judicial body which hears and decides cases involving competition or economic regulatory issues.

This is what the court documents state: "The Claim states that the Defendant exercised its power to block the Proposed Takeover when it decided between June and September 2020 that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be a director exercising “control” over NUFC, for the purposes of the Rules (“the Director Decision”).

"In reaching the Director Decision, the Defendant failed to apply the Rules in a fair, objective and non-discriminatory fashion and/or used its powers under the Rules for the improper purpose of promoting its own commercial interests and/or the interests of its business associates and/or certain of the PL member-clubs in a manner that was detrimental to competition and consumers.”

In the legal papers, the claim also alleges: “As a result of the breaches by the Defendant, the Claimant has suffered loss and damage. In particular, the Claimant has lost the immediate sale, or lost the likely opportunity of an immediate sale of its shares in NUL (which owns NUFC) to the Consortium Company.”

What are Mike Ashley and St James' Holdings seeking?

The papers also revealed what St James' Holdings are seeking: “(1) Damages for loss of profit or, alternatively, loss of opportunity. (2) An injunction requiring the Defendant to withdraw the Director Decision and/or to reconsider the same. (3) Interest. (4) Costs. (5) Such further or other relief as the Tribunal considers appropriate.”

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