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Premier League were offered assurances from highest level on Newcastle takeover

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The Premier League were offered assurances from the 'highest possible level' by the consortium attempting to buy Newcastle United.

Amanda Staveley, the Reuben Brothers and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) pulled out of their bid to take over the Magpies on Thursday.

In a statement, the group said that the 'prolonged process under the current circumstances' and the 'global uncertainty' had 'rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable'.

The Premier League's owners' and directors' test had been going on for four months and the consortium did not believe a resolution was on the horizon.

One of the issues that the governing body had been grappling with was the PIF's relationship with the state.

ChronicleLive understands the buyers offered assurances from the 'highest possible level' to try and establish that it was the PIF, rather than the government, which would be the ultimate beneficial owner.

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However, given how the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is the chairman of the PIF as well as the country's deputy prime minister, you can see how this proved a complicated issue.

And what about piracy? It fell to the Premier League to establish whether Saudi's history with piracy could be linked to owners or directors nominated by the consortium.

The Premier League wrote to the US government in February to ask that Saudi Arabia was kept on the priority watch list because the governing body believed the country 'remained a centre for piracy'.

In June, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property shut down 231 websites that streamed films, sports channels and music illegally and warned offenders they could face six months in prison and fines of more than £50,000.

But, tellingly, Saudi Arabia have since appealed the World Trade Organisation's ruling that the Kingdom had not provided 'criminal procedures and penalties' to tackle pirate pay broadcaster beoutQ.

bein sports TV logo (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia have also banned beIN SPORTS, the Premier League's official Middle East broadcasters, from being broadcast in the country. One well-placed source labelled that ban as 'needless'.

Regardless, the consortium's plans have been left in tatters. As ChronicleLive revealed on Thursday, in addition to the purchase price, the buyers intended to invest £250m over the next five years directly into the club and additional sums, which were never disclosed, above and beyond that into the community.

Numbers in the plan were reviewed - it is still not clear when supporters will be allowed back into stadiums - but a key part of the consortium's long-term vision was to redevelop Newcastle's academy with a view to bringing through even more local talent.

There was an enthusiasm within the group to connect with local groups, including grassroots clubs like Wallsend Boys Club, and to get the community involved.

Talks with influential figures in the city had already taken place about which areas needed funding - housing, for example - and how much was required.

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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was left 'devastated' after the takeover collapsed but Lee Charnley, the club's managing director, said 'our current focus must now be on supporting Steve Bruce in the transfer market and on the preparations for the new season'.

The Premier League have repeatedly been contacted by ChronicleLive but have stressed they are still unable to comment.

Richard Masters, the governing body's chief executive, previously admitted he 'appreciated' the uncertainty for Newcastle fans but added he 'could not talk about the specifics' because there were 'legal requirements in place'.




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