Opposition teams in English football are reportedly to blame for the failure of the Saudi-led attempts to buy the St. James’ Park outfit
Amanda Staveley, the businesswoman at the centre of a Saudi-backed bid to buy Newcastle United, has claimed opposition from other Premier League clubs caused the deal to break down.
On Thursday, a consortium led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) pulled out of a bid to buy the club.
A proposed £300 million ($390m) purchase, backed by the PIF, whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been withdrawn mainly due to the protracted nature of negotiations.
Staveley, whose PCP Capital Partners would have taken 10 per cent of the club, with another 10 per cent going to property developers Simon and David Reuben, was at the centre of negotiations.
“We are heartbroken obviously,” she told The Times. “Of course we do [blame the Premier League]. They had a chance, they say we have not answered all the questions and we have done so.
“The other clubs in the Premier League didn’t want it to happen.
“We are so heartbroken for the Newcastle fans as the investment that was going to go into the club, especially with everything happening with Brexit and Covid-19, would have been so important. This is catastrophic for them. It has been going on for so long and the opportunity was there.”
A further complication to the deal came after Saudi Arabia were found by the World Trade Organisation to have enabled the piracy of Premier League matches being broadcast by beIN Sport. Staveley, though, insists the hurdle could have been easily overcome.
“The piracy issue was not an issue but we tried to resolve it anyway,” she said. “They [the Premier League] tried to make the state of Saudi a director. The PIF had agreed to become a director.”
However, Staveley hinted there may be a possibility of reigniting the deal.
“Do we give up now? I don’t know, there may be a way forward, but we have had to put a statement out,” she added. “I’m trying to deal with the facts and we had to make a decision today.”
A statement released on Thursday on behalf of the PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers confirmed: “With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.
“We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to the position of its history, tradition and fans’ merit.
“Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.”