All twenty Premier League clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, have reportedly received a letter from broadcaster beIN SPORTS urging them to block the sale of Newcastle to a Saudi-backed consortium, according to Sky Sports.
PCP Capital Partners’ and the Saudi Public Investment Funds’ (PIF) proposed £300 million takeover is nearing completion with the Premier League currently said to be going through the owners and directors test to put their seal of approval on the deal (Daily Mail).
The Saudi Public Investment Fund is run by crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, while the governor of the fund – Yasir Al-Rumayyan – is set to replace Mike Ashley as chairman. Therefore, there are clear links with the Saudi Arabian government.
beIN have claimed that Saudi Arabia is involved in the illegal streaming of Premier League matches which they assert threatens the future value of the league’s rights worldwide.
However, there could be an element of conflict of interest here as beIN is based in Qatar, which is involved in a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia.
According to Sky Sports, the letter sent by the broadcaster reads: “The danger of allowing the acquisition of a controlling or material interest (whether acquired directly or indirectly) in a major Premier League club by what is effectively the Saudi Arabian government cannot be ignored given the country’s past and continuing illegal actions and their direct impact upon the commercial interests of the Premier League, its member clubs, it’s broadcast partners and football in general.
“As a longstanding partner and huge investor in the Premier League, we urge you to consider carefully all the implications of doing so.”
Spurs Web Opinion
This letter is clearly not going to stop the takeover as it looks like a done deal but this was clearly aimed at bringing Saudi Arabia’s illegal streaming into the limelight, putting pressure on them and the Premier League. While this obviously needs to be investigated, the human rights violation committed by the regime back in Saudi Arabia should also be a massive cause for concern. The Premier League should not allow morally corrupt regimes to use their product as a PR vehicle.
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