Newcastle takeover: Government ‘uncomfortable’ with expectation of involvement in decision-making

The UK Government is distancing itself from making any decisions on Newcastle’s proposed takeover by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium.

PCP Capital Partners’ largely Saudi-backed bid to buy out current owner Mike Ashley has been with the Premier League for almost four months but, with no breakthrough imminent, there is ongoing uncertainty surrounding the club.

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The takeover bid has received criticism from Amnesty International over Saudi Arabia’s human rights situation, prompting at least two Conservative MPs to call on the government to investigate the deal and consider sanctions.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has previously indicated it is ultimately up to the Premier League to determine the suitability of the new owners and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has echoed that view.

“I’m very uncomfortable with the level of expectation of involvement on government with things that are very clearly decisions for football,” Huddleston told Sky Sports News.

“There is obviously the fit and proper persons test to go through with any acquisitions of this nature and I think that is absolutely appropriate.

“It’s something that I’m keeping an eye on but it is a decision for those involved. It would be inappropriate for me to interfere at that kind of level.”

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