Who's leading the way in the Premier League sack race?
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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is supposedly confident that the Saudi-led takeover of the club will now go ahead after significant headway was made in a dispute with Qatar. If it is to be completed, it would call time on a lengthy takeover saga which went quiet in recent months after it looked as though certain complications could not be overcome between the parties.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar had been locked in a years-long dispute after the former placed a four-year ban on broadcasting Qatar-based beIN Sports in the region.
Given that beIN Sports have a lucrative deal to broadcast Premier League football in the Middle East and North Africa, Saudi interest in a topflight club was thought to pose an insurmountable conflict of interests.
The Premier League refused to consider the takeover which prompted Ashley into legal action, with an arbitration hearing scheduled for January.
However, the Saudis have reportedly pledged to lift their ban on beIN Sports streams in an effort to settle the long-running dispute.
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Qatar are allegedly pleased with the result and should no longer stand in the way of any potential Newcastle takeover.
According to The Chronicle, the arbitration hearing may not be necessary and complications could be brushed aside with an out of court settlement between Ashley and the Premier League.
The league’s chief, Richard Masters, will surely be keen to avoid negative headlines or a costly legal process associated with doing battle with Ashley in court.
An insider now claims: “Mike [Ashley] thought the club was sold in April 2020 and he believes he has a deal now.
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“It’s all down to Mike and the Premier League now.”
The prospective £300million takeover is led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, as well as Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers in a three-strong consortium.
Overall, fans will be glad to see the back of Ashley who has grown mightily unpopular since taking control of the club in 2007.
Generally, he was felt to have neglected the Magpies and not spent sufficiently to get them back where they had previously been.
Ashley did mercifully up the spending in recent years, although the club are still struggling and they have not spent anywhere near what the league’s big hitters are.
That could all be set to change with Saudi investment as dream transfer targets could soon become an attainable reality.
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