Soccer

Newcastle takeover: Fresh plea made to Premier League for explanation over failed deal

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of Newcastle City Council, has urged the Premier League to provide answers regarding the aborted attempt to buy Newcastle by a Saudi-led consortium.

Last week, Newcastle were left reeling by the announcement from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund that they were pulling out of buying the club from owner Mike Ashley.

The decision came after months of talks behind the scenes but little clarity over the status of the bid.

Increasing opposition to the deal and row over piracy also played a major role in the deal not getting approved sooner.

And it has caused an uproar among Newcastle fans, who were desperately hoping for investment into the club and city.

Ashley is thought to be in talks with new potential buyers but answers are still being sought for the failure of the Saudi bid.

And in a letter to the Premier League, Ritchie expressed the frustrations of the city over the deal and demanded an explanation from the Premier League.

She wrote: “As Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council I write to express my concern and disappointment that the Premier League took so long to consider the proposed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club and that as a result of those delays the deal seems to have collapsed.

“Whilst we understand that the Premier League has due process to follow you will also be aware that for cities that host Premiership Clubs these investments can be about more than football – the impact of such investment into the wider city and the region can be transformational.

“As our city starts to rebuild and emerge from COVID we are clear that continuing investment and job creation in the city will play a critical part in our recovery.

“Our city centre development zones are ready for investment and the partners involved in this deal were keen to work with us to unlock commercial activity.

“Members of the consortium spear-heading this deal had made a clear long-term commitment to the city to help drive growth and regeneration, from investment in the city’s physical infrastructure to working with the Newcastle United Foundation.

“The Foundation’s main objective is to support the local community using the power of football to encourage learning, support employability and promote healthy lifestyles that make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children.

“It is on this basis that I write to request an explanation of the reasons behind the lack of decision making over this 17 week period.

“We are keen to understand if there is an opportunity to pursue a compromise that both satisfies the Premier League’s concerns and also helps demonstrate the positive impact that football can deliver to the city and facilitate much needed growth.

“I am happy to discuss this further with your officers – and happy to share the wider investment ambitions of the partners if you are willing to take this opportunity.”

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