Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has written to both the Chairman and the Chief Executive of the Premier League regarding the failed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC).
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), headed up by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, planned to purchase NUFC from current owner Mike Ashley in a move that would have seen PIF acquire 80% of NUFC, with the remaining chunk of the club being owned by the Reuben Brothers and PCP Capital Partners.
However last month, after months of negotiations, the PIF suddenly withdrew their bid on the grounds it was not commercially viable for any purchase to be taken forward. It is believed that the coronavirus played a part in this, as did pressure from human rights groups concerned about Saudi Arabian ownership of NUFC. It has also been reported that other Premier League clubs did not want the takeover to go ahead.
Richard has now received hundreds of emails from constituents demanding transparency from the Premier League about the takeover, raising questions about why the process of the takeover has taken so long, why other Premier League clubs objected to the takeover and stating it is unacceptable to leave fans in doubt for so long about the future of the club. It has also been pointed out that NUFC has been left ‘severely disadvantaged’ as a direct consequence of the delay.
Richard has written to the Premier League to seek clarity on all these issues, saying that the Premier League took an ‘incredibly long period of time’ when proceeding with the takeover and the ‘strength of feeling of fans’ was not taken into account. Richard has also raised his concerns that the North East of England has been ignored in a time when investment and job creation is ‘crucial’.
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said
“I’ve been following this matter extremely closely and have spoken directly with some of the representatives of the purchasing consortium involved in this deal. Not only would this deal mean a huge amount to people across my constituency of North West Durham and the wider North East, but it would bring huge investment and job opportunities into the entire region.
“I am disappointed by the response of the Premier League, which has been slow, unhelpful and lacking transparency. I have written them to seek urgent clarity about what has happened and what the next steps are.
I would be keen to meet with the Premier League to discuss the takeover and will continue to work to represent the views of all my constituents in this matter.”