Ex-Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has sports deal derailed amid 'piranha' claims

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Mike Ashley could be about to lose his latest sports deal.

Mike Ashley's latest sporting deal could be about to be derailed as the ex-Newcastle United owner now faces serious competition- unravelling months of negotiations.

According to The Telegraph, Colin Graves is now in 'advanced' talks to rescue Yorkshire County Cricket Club, where he was once executive chairman.

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Ashley remains in talks with the county however the tycoon finds himself at a major disadvantage.

The club owes Graves' family trust £16.1m, all of which would be turned into equity- saving it around £500,000 a year in repayments- should the deal go through.

Mike Ashley, the billionaire former owner of Newcastle United Football Club. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.Mike Ashley, the billionaire former owner of Newcastle United Football Club. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.
Mike Ashley, the billionaire former owner of Newcastle United Football Club. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.

Yorkshire's finances were severely damaged in a racism scandal earlier this year. In July, the club was docked 48 points from the County Championship standings and fined £400,000 by the Cricket Discipline Commission.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) fined it £500,000, with £350,000 suspended for three years.

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Like Ashley, Graves is offering to buy Headingley for around £23m but will allow Yorkshire to operate there rent-free on a 99-year lease to assure its future.

Mike AshleyMike Ashley
Mike Ashley | Getty Images

The former Newcastle United owner likewise has offered to buy the stadium in order to inject some cash into the club, but Ashley's deal would see Yorkshire pay rent to play in the ground they no longer own. Ashley is also seeking naming rights to the ground as part of the deal which is reminiscent of when he renamed St James' Park to Sports Direct Arena.

Earlier this year, ex-cricketer and former Yorkshire club resident Sir Geoffrey Boycott advised members against the deal when he described Ashley as a "piranha."

It's believed Ashley is waiting for the club to fall into administration before he makes his final offer, as reported in the Telegraph, in order to swoop in when it's at its lowest.

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Ashley looks to want to use his involvement in Yorkshire to move for his brand Slazenger to become the kit supplier of England's cricket teams, replacing Castore.

And yesterday it was reported by SkySports that the billionaire has pitched a proposal to the ECB to see his brand manufacture England's national teams kits. It's believed Ashley would want to see both his Slazenger and Yorkshire bids confirmed together, however the ECB has already told him it's in a long-term deal with Castore.

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