Premier League insists it did not reject Saudi Arabia-backed bid for Newcastle United

League hits back at claims made by the Magpies that they did not 'act appropriately' during the process

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 24:  Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (c) looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James' Park on May 24, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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The Premier League has insisted it did not reject the Saudi Arabia-backed bid to buy Newcastle United.

The investment group, which included the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, agreed a £300 million (Dh1.36 billion) deal to purchase the club in April with owner Mike Ashley paid a £17m deposit.

However, they withdrew their offer on July 30 with the Premier League still conducting its owners' and directors' test.

Newcastle released a statement on Wednesday that said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters had blocked the takeover and did not "act appropriately".

But the Premier League delivered a strongly worded response on Thursday that made it clear they had not pulled the plug on the deal.

"The Premier League was disappointed and surprised by the Newcastle United Football Club statement regarding its potential takeover," a statement read. "The club's assertion that the Premier League has rejected the takeover is incorrect.

"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.

"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."


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Supporters have long campaigned for Ashley to sell the club as they have been disillusioned with his 13-year spell as owner, which has included two relegations from the top flight.

The sportswear tycoon has been trying to offload the business he bought for £134.4m in 2007 for large parts of his tenure – much of that time spent at loggerheads with the fanbase.

Ashley was on Tyneside on Wednesday to meet manager Steve Bruce having sanctioned summers deals for £20m striker Callum Wilson, full-back Jamal Lewis, who cost £13.5m and free agents Ryan Fraser and Jeff Hendrick having had to fund a summer recruitment drive he had hoped would fall to new owners.

Newcastle begin the new season away to West Ham on Saturday.