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Newcastle takeover news LIVE: Public Investment Fund 'still want to buy' club

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TV rights in the MENA region

Saudi Arabian businessmen offered a substantial sum to the Premier League for the rights to screen matches in the kingdom in a bid to solve the piracy issue which it was feared could derail the Newcastle takeover, the PA news agency has learned.

The Saudi public investment fund, which was set to take an 80 per cent stake in the Magpies until the consortium it was part of withdrew its offer on Thursday, is understood to have assembled a group of private businessmen from the country to put together an offer to take on the national rights for the league.

Qatar-based beIN SPORTS is the Premier League rights holder for the Middle East and North Africa region, including Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis argued that because beIN’s licence to broadcast in the kingdom had been suspended since 2017, it could not be considered a legitimate broadcaster there.

The Premier League is understood to have dismissed the offer out of hand.

The league declined to comment, as it has throughout the takeover process.

The offer to pay to broadcast matches in Saudi Arabia came after the pirate broadcaster beoutQ illegally screened a huge variety of sporting events, including Premier League games.

A report by the World Trade Organisation in June found the Saudi state had facilitated beoutQ’s activities and had failed to do enough to protect the intellectual property (IP) rights of numerous rights holders across the globe, including the Premier League.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia appealed against the findings of the WTO report.

TV cameras at St James' Park, Newcastle


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