Newcastle fans demand end to 'state of limbo' after takeover arbitration hearing delayed

Proposed takeover, which included Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund PIF, collapsed in July last year

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Newcastle United's arbitration proceedings against the Premier League over last year's aborted takeover attempt have been adjourned until early 2022 due to "issues with the disclosure of evidence", the Premier League club said on Monday.

The proposed £305 million ($417.06m) takeover by a consortium which included Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund PIF, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers collapsed in July last year when the group announced they were ending their interest.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley had initiated legal proceedings against the Premier League earlier this year, accusing the league of acting inappropriately in rejecting the takeover bid.

"The parties attended a hearing today in the case between Newcastle United and the Premier League," a joint statement from Newcastle and the Premier League read. "The main hearing of the arbitration has regrettably now been adjourned until early 2022 due to issues with the disclosure of evidence."

The deal had initially been delayed by the Premier League's owners and directors test.

The league's chief executive Richard Masters said at the time that it collapsed after the consortium declined to take up the Premier League's offer of independent arbitration to decide who would own the club.

"In our view it is unacceptable that Newcastle United has been left in a state of limbo for 15 months by the Premier League's opacity regarding the Owner and Directors' Test, and what actually happened last summer," read a statement from the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.

"Another delay of at least six months reinforces the need for clarity across all aspects of this situation.

"In a scenario where the owner, the buyer and the majority of the Newcastle United fanbase want the deal to proceed, we are disappointed to see that further obfuscation is taking place.

"We believe that this entire saga emphasises the need for fundamental reform of football governance in the UK.

"Newcastle United and our fans continue to be let down by people in positions of power. We deserve better."

The announcement of the delay comes after around 300 Newcastle fans travelled to London on Friday to protest against the Premier League over their handling of the takeover process.

Updated: July 20th 2021, 4:28 AM
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