London (AFP) – Newcastle have confirmed they are in a legal dispute with the Premier League over the failed takeover of the club.
A consortium featuring the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers withdrew its £350 million ($460 million) offer for Newcastle earlier this year following a long wait for the Premier League to approve the deal.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley had indicated he would consult lawyers over the collapse and his club revealed the legal case on Thursday in response to alleged “leaks” by the Premier League.
“The club understands that these will be matters of great concern to its fans and therefore considers that, in light of the information disclosed by the EPL, it has no choice but to respond and update its fans in response to this coverage,” a Newcastle statement said.
“The club makes no comment on the substance of the arbitration, but it can confirm that it has issued arbitration proceedings against the EPL.
“It is unclear when those proceedings will be resolved, given the approach of the EPL and its lawyers, Bird & Bird. Nevertheless, the club will continue to use its best efforts to press for a fair, full and timely hearing of its claim.”
Ashley, who has owned Newcastle since 2007, has been trying to sell the club for years.
Staveley, who had failed in a previous attempt to strike a deal, appeared confident of a breakthrough this time.
But she and her partners grew increasingly frustrated as hopes of a swift conclusion dissolved with the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ test seemingly proving an insurmountable hurdle.
The consortium insisted it had provided all the answers for which it had been asked, although not to the satisfaction of the governing body, who were seeking clarity over the relationship between the ownership and the Saudi state amid a row over TV piracy, but never formally rejected the bid.
In addition, Amnesty International had voiced its objections over the Middle East state’s human rights record, accusing it of using Newcastle for “sportswashing” purposes.
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