Newcastle takeover: Premier League chief confirms decision to be made ‘shortly’ | Football | Sport

Premier League chief Richard Masters has given the clearest hint that a decision on the proposed £300million takeover of Newcastle is imminent.

It has been over two months since Newcastle owner Mike Ashley first agreed to sell the club to a Saudi-led consortium.

However, there has been little comment from the Premier League over the status of the process as it waits for the result of the owners and directors test.

The delay has created a feeling of uncertainty around Newcastle and captain Jamaal Lascelles has reportedly spoken to Ashley about seeking clarity.

On Tuesday, Masters held a video conference with the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

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Early in the session, Masters conceded Newcastle’s situation was ‘complicated’ and expressed sympathy over the lack of information provided while maintaining the process was confidential.

Masters was later asked by John Nicolson, MP for Ochil & South Perthshire, when a decision can be expected and he replied: “All processes have to conclude and I would like the process to conclude shortly.

“There’s no timetable within which the board, that considers takeovers, [works towards]. Some takeovers are straightforward and others aren’t.”

Masters then refused to give an answer over whether he will ask Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman for a guarantee that the Saudi government will stop the piracy of BeIN SPORTS content.

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The Qatari broadcaster, who own the rights to stream sports in the Middle East, have claimed pirate operator, beoutQ, is sponsored by the Saudi government and allowing them to streams sports illegally into the homes.

As a result, BeIN Sports has been banned in Saudi Arabia after the state alleged Qatar sponsors terrorism.

The Saudi and UK government have a strong relationship but Masters insisted: “During my time at the Premier League, I am not aware of the government putting any pressure on the Premier League, one way or another, in relation to any takeover.”

Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appeared to give his backing to the Saudis.

“There’s a proper process that we’ve got in place to look at everything from the competition aspects to other questions of propriety,” he said.

“I think it’s right that that legal due process, with all its safeguards that it’s got in place, is followed. We have this debate about takeovers in this country, and I think we should follow the rule of law.

“We had the same debate in relation to (Roman) Abramovich and Chelsea. I think it’s right that we welcome engagement, investment into football in this country.

“Everyone’s pleased to see the Premier League back up and running, and also that there are legal safeguards to make sure it’s done the proper way.

“This country is an open, outward-looking country. We’ve got investment from all around the world, but we do need safeguards in place.

“We’ve seen that in relation to 5G, takeovers that national security and other questions of propriety are properly scrutinised. We’ve got the due process and laws in place to do that. We have to trust the institutions we’ve got to deliver that.”

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