Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Newcastle United hire lawyers in dispute with Premier League over collapse of Saudi-backed takeover

Blackstone Chambers release a statement on Monday saying that two of its barristers are representing the club in the matter

The investment group, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, pulled out of a proposed £300m deal to buy Newcastle United. PA
The investment group, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, pulled out of a proposed £300m deal to buy Newcastle United. PA

Newcastle United have hired lawyers in their dispute with the Premier League over the attempted Saudi-led takeover of the club.

Blackstone Chambers said on Monday that two of its barristers, Shaheed Fatima and Nick De Marco, are acting for the club in the matter.

The Magpies released a statement on Wednesday last week claiming the Premier League had rejected a takeover bid which would have seen Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) take an 80 per cent stake in the club.

The statement said: "The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them."

The league responded the following day, saying it was "surprised and disappointed" by Newcastle's statement and that it had not rejected the takeover bid.

"The Premier League board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition. That opinion is based on legal advice," a league statement read.

"This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information.

"They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the board. As an alternative, the board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June.

"It is also incorrect to suggest these decisions were taken by any individual; they were agreed unanimously by all Premier League board members."

On the football pitch, manager Steve Bruce is refusing to get carried away after seeing his Newcastle team launch its new Premier League campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory at West Ham.

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Player ratings for West Ham 0 Newcastle 2

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Striker Callum Wilson and midfielder Jeff Hendrick both scored at the London Stadium, while fellow debutant Jamal Lewis at left-back also turned in an impressive display.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's League Cup match against Blackburn Rovers, Bruce said: "There's nothing better for anyone than to go away from home and win, especially in the Premier League because we know how difficult it is.

"But it wasn't just the victory which pleased me, it was the way we went about it too with three new faces in the squad who looked as if they'd been here for years, never mind a week, so that pleased me – and all three of them had wonderful debuts, which also helps the situation.

"All in all, we've had a decent start, but we're not going to get too carried away over one result because there's still a long, long way to go."

As for the cup tie at St James' Park, Bruce admitted there will be widespread changes to his team ahead of what will be a hectic season of fixtures.

The competition will be condensed into most of this month – a after the late finish to last season due to the coronavirus lockdown and late start of the new campaign – with the quarter-final line-up set to be thrashed out before October.

Success means the Magpies could play up to seven games before the next international break at the start of October.

Bruce said: "We will still take it seriously. The competition is condensed into seven weeks.

"I have a squad of players. When I look at the strength we've got I still expect to get through.

"The one thing we struggled with last year was playing the games over Christmas and we struggled at the back end after lockdown.

"I will be making changes and looking to get into the next round."

Updated: September 14, 2020 02:26 PM

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