Newcastle Takeover in Doubt as Premier League 'Fully Consider' Calls to Pull Plug on Saudi-Backed Deal

Ross Kennerley
Newcastle United v Southampton FC - Premier League
Newcastle United v Southampton FC - Premier League / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

For the first time since the ball started rolling on Newcastle's proposed takeover, the chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Masters, has revealed that calls for the Saudi-backed move to be stopped are being 'fully considered'.

The £300m deal from a consortium that includes Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as its majority stakeholder and is led by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been mooted for some time, although the World Trade Organisation has issued a ruling regarding their involvement in an illegal pirate TV and streaming service.

Oh, and there's also all the other stuff, too.

Alleged human rights violations and the alleged arranged murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, have left a very dark cloud over any potential deal, and the Telegraph have since revealed that Hatice Cengiz - murdered dissident of Khashoggi's fiance - has urged the league to block the proposed deal.

These calls are been considered by the Premier League, with Masters telling Cengiz’s lawyer he was 'extremely sympathetic' to the client's position. With the league now acknowledging the countless allegations of murder and human rights abuses, the deal looks in risk of falling through.

A series of letters between Cengiz and Masters have been exchanged that include various accusations along with a belief that the Saudi prince's takeover would 'greatly stain' the United Kingdom as a whole.

“Of course, I remain extremely sympathetic to your client’s position, but I am unable to correspond in any more detail than we have already on this matter," Masters wrote in one of his responses. “Our process is strictly private and confidential and must remain so.

Newcastle's St James' Park Stadium
Newcastle's St James' Park Stadium / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

“For this reason, a meeting is not possible particularly in light of correspondence on this confidential matter appearing in the media. However, I assure you and your client that her representations are being fully considered in our process.”

Cengiz said on Thursday night: “Mr Masters’ response gives me optimism that the Premier League will do the right thing here."

Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia has always denied the prince was involved in the killing.