Newcastle United takeover: Premier League refuse to comment on illegal TV streaming links

Newcastle United's potential takeover has come under scrutiny due to links with an illegal TV streaming service
Image: Newcastle's potential takeover has come under scrutiny due to links with an illegal TV streaming service

The Premier League has refused to comment on reports suggesting further paperwork has been sent linking Newcastle's Saudi-backed consortium with an illegal TV streaming service. 

The takeover, led by Prince Mohamed bin Salman, is currently awaiting the outcome of the Premier League's owners and directors' test after a £300m deal with current owner Mike Ashley was agreed last month.

Sky Sports News previously reported the buying consortium have already paid a £17m deposit and exchanged contracts and remain confident their bid will be given the green light by the Premier League, despite this latest report.

The proposed takeover has faced previous dissent from beIN SPORTS over piracy issues and Amnesty International over Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman
Image: Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman

The Premier League and its 20 clubs have received a letter from broadcaster beIN SPORTS urging them to block the sale of clubs over claims of illegal streaming, while Amnesty International has written to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

And the Government was subsequently urged to "take a role" in scrutinising the proposed Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle by the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on football.

'Bigger issue will be broadcast rights, not human rights'

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Sunday Supplement guest Henry Winter expects protests at St James' Park if the takeover is completed

"You might have one or two politicians piping up but I don't think the Government are going to get involved," The Times' chief football writer Henry Winter told the Sunday Supplement.

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"There are serious human rights concerns and I think if the takeover does go through, there will be demonstrations outside the ground but if anything is going to derail this bid - and I do think it will go through - it will be the issue of broadcast rights.

"I think this is a huge moment for them but I think we need to urge some caution that, when the takeover does go through, the focus on human rights in Saudi Arabia will become even more intense and Newcastle United fans and the club have to be aware of that."

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