Newcastle United arbitration hearing over takeover adjourned until 2022

Huge blow to fans who were hoping takeover might be approved this summer; Financier Amanda Staveley's firm PCP Capital Partners and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund remain interested in buying Newcastle

PA

Newcastle United's arbitration proceedings against the Premier League over last year's aborted takeover bid have been adjourned until early 2022.

Both parties have agreed to go to arbitration in early 2022 due to issues with the disclosure of evidence.

The news will come as a huge disappointment to Newcastle fans, who had been hoping the proposed takeover by financier Amanda Staveley's firm PCP Capital Partners and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund might go through before the new season.

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Amanda Staveley, the financier leading a proposed £340m takeover of Newcastle, has called on the government to ensure the Premier League's decision over the future ownership of the club is transparent. The Premier League has declined to comment.

The delay means current owner Mike Ashley could remain at the helm for the whole of the 2021/22 campaign, which may have an impact on any potential transfer budget available to manager Steve Bruce.

A joint statement from Newcastle and the Premier League on Monday read: "The parties attended a hearing today in the case between Newcastle United and the Premier League.

"The main hearing of the arbitration has regrettably now been adjourned until early 2022 due to issues with the disclosure of evidence.

"The parties will be making no further comment at this time."

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The proposed takeover collapsed last summer when it was being scrutinised under the Premier League's owners and directors' test, due to a possible link between the Public Investment Fund and the Saudi Arabian state.

The consortium pulled out, citing the delay to the process, but has maintained its interest in a deal.

Ashley remains keen for the takeover to go through and initiated an arbitration claim based on the way the Premier League assessed the bid.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust issued a statement that read in part: "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.

"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."

Around 300 Newcastle supporters journeyed to London last Friday to protest about the fact they feel they are being 'kept in the dark' about the process.

Staveley has called on the government to act urgently and ensure the Premier League's decision over the future ownership of the club is transparent.

Newcastle fans protest in London
Image: Newcastle fans protest in London about a perceived lack of transparency regarding the proposed takeover

Newcastle fans want answers

Newcastle supporter and protest organiser Holly Blades says the silence around the process ahead of the arbitration outcome is frustrating fans while damaging the club.

Blades organised last week's London protests in order to re-iterate the message to the Premier League that they want answers as soon as possible.

"We felt compelled to organise the protest because it has been 15 months that we have now been waiting for an answer to this takeover, the longest kind of time that it has taken for something like this," she told Sky Sports News.

"We just feel like we can't be kept in this limbo for much longer and we can't sit and have no comment from the Premier League.

"We need some sort of answers because it is not fair on the fans, Steve Bruce, the players, anyone - because we really don't know what is happening with the club and it is putting us in a massively damaging situation."

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