Ben Jacobs has dropped a worrying claim on the potential takeover of Newcastle United after news emerged on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The Lowdown: Saudis fail in UEFA bid
As per Jacobs (via Twitter), a broadcaster based in the KSA have bid for UEFA club competition rights for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, but they were unsuccessful.
Is the KSA takeover of Newcastle over?
That is despite offering as much as $600m (£422.9m), which was easily the highest bid, as the sports journalist also added that there are concerns within UEFA over the KSA broadcaster beoutQ and the Gulf country remaining on the 2021 Priority Watch List.
The Latest: Potential affect on takeover
Jacobs has claimed that this will not affect the proposed deal between Mike Ashley and the KSA group, if the KSA’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) can prove that they are a separate entity to the Saudi state.
However, if a link between them is found, then their piracy issues do come into consideration, and so the Premier League can cite other organisations who have used the same evidence to connect piracy to the KSA’s governing body and in turn refuse to work with them.
In addition, the sports journalist has claimed that ‘PIF will just walk’ if separation cannot be proved, as they would not want to be involved in a piracy row that they know they could not win if they were found to be connected to the Saudi state.
The Verdict: Piracy issue worrying
The issue with regards to piracy in the KSA is certainly a worrying one in terms of trying to get the top flight to accept the takeover bid.
It is understandable that the division do not want to see their games being streamed illegally, and given the Saudi connection to the Magpies if the takeover was to be completed, it is hard to see how that relationship would be formed.
It is therefore vital that PIF can show that they are of a separate entity to the Saudi state, as per the league’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (ODT), to have any hope of the original deal being revived.
If they cannot, then the piracy issues do come into play, and it is unlikely the PL would overlook them when making their final decision even if PIF elected not to walk away, as Jacobs suggests they will.
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