Amanda Staveley has answered Newcastle United takeover question amid Richard Masters secrecy

Newcastle United’s Saudi-led ownership is back under the spotlight.

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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has refused to confirm whether or not the Saudi Arabian-led takeover of Newcastle United will be re-examined after fresh complaints.

Court documents published in the United States last month described the Public Investment Fund, who own 80 per-cent of the Magpies, as “a sovereign instrumentality of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, United’s non-executive chairman, as “a sitting minister of the Saudi government”.

The PIF-led takeover of Newcastle had stalled for 18 months before being approved by the Premier League in October 2021 after they received “legally-binding assurances” that the Saudi state would not have control of the club.

Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters at St James' Park in January.Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters at St James' Park in January.
Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters at St James' Park in January.

The revelation, as highlighted in the ongoing legal dispute between golf’s PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, has raised new concerns. Human rights group Amnesty International have called for the ownership model to be re-examined.

Masters was asked about the documents by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee member Clive Efford on Tuesday, and replied: “I can’t really comment on it. I mean, even to the point of saying, ‘is the Premier League investigating it?’, we can’t really comment on it.

“Obviously we are completely aware. And you’re correct about the general nature of the undertakings that we received at the point of takeover. But I can’t really go into it at all.

“The time when the Premier League comments publicly on regulatory issues is when it’s charged, and at the end of the process when an independent panel has decided whether any rule breaches have actually taken place. The investigatory process, we don’t talk about at all.”

Speaking at The Financial Times‘ Business of Football Summit earlier this month, Magpies co-owner Amanda Staveley, whose company PCP Partners own 10 per-cent of Newcastle along with RB Sports & Media, denied any Saudi state involvement.

Staveley said: “The undertaking was that Saudi Arabia would not control the club. That undertaking has been and is being honoured.” Staveley has previously described PIF as an “autonomous, commercially-driven investment fund.”

Masters stated in November 2021 that if the Premier League discovered there was any state involvement in the running of Newcastle, they could “remove the consortium as owners of the club”.

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