Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley leaves the Red Lion pub in Westminster to attend a select committee hearing at Portcullis house on June 7, 2016 in London, England.
Newcastle United fans have now been given a time to go with the date set for the St James Holdings Limited v The Football Association Premier League Limited Competition Appeal Tribunal case.
The case was brought by Mike Ashley earlier this year in order to help push through the potential buyout of the football club by the PCP Consortium, made up of PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. It is also being used as a tool to secure compensation from the Premier League due to the stalled nature of the process to date.
Here’s a run down of the key points revealed in the CAT posting this morning, a look over the case itself and details on what happens after next week’s legal diary date.
When does the hearing take place?
The hearing is set to take place next Wednesday. That’s set for 10.30am on September 29.
Can the hearing be watched LIVE?
As mentioned in this exclusive piece in sister title the Shields Gazette back in May, the hearing will be live-streamed for fans to watch. Of course, if the platform can support the numbers that will likely tune in.
The diary entry posted this morning had the word “livestream” written next to it. That remained connected to the update from 10.30 am to around 12.30pm, when it was removed.
NewcastleWorld asked CAT for guidance on why this was removed and was assured there was “no reason for the hearing not to be live-streamed” and that they still expect this to be the case, despite the altering of the post.
They also added the case diary online would be updated in the next few days. It is not known, at this stage, what updates will be posted.
Should, as expected, it be shown live to fans, CAT have advised that a link to the 10.30am hearing will go on to the website at around 9am.
A red box will pop up alongside the diary entry - which can be found at https://www.catribunal.org.uk/cases/14025721-st-james-holdings-limited - and fans should be able to click through to the live hearing.
Who makes up the tribunal?
Three men make up the tribunal, who will judge over whether the case progresses.
They are The Honourable Mr Justice Snowden, Michael Cutting and Tim Frazer.
What is the hearing set to judge on?
The St James’ Holdings vs the FA Premier League claim alleges the Premier League were in infringement of articles 101 and 102 of the Competition Act 1998.
The CAT is a specialist judicial body which hears and decides cases involving competition or economic regulatory issues.
This is what the court documents state: “The Claim states that the Defendant exercised its power to block the Proposed Takeover when it decided between June and September 2020 that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be a director exercising “control” over NUFC, for the purposes of the Rules (“the Director Decision”).
“In reaching the Director Decision, the Defendant failed to apply the Rules in a fair, objective and non-discriminatory fashion and/or used its powers under the Rules for the improper purpose of promoting its own commercial interests and/or the interests of its business associates and/or certain of the PL member-clubs in a manner that was detrimental to competition and consumers.”
It continues: “As a result of the breaches by the Defendant, the Claimant has suffered loss and damage. In particular, the Claimant has lost the immediate sale, or lost the likely opportunity of an immediate sale of its shares in NUL (which owns NUFC) to the Consortium Company.”
The papers also reveal what St James’ Holdings are seeking: “(1) Damages for loss of profit or, alternatively, loss of opportunity. (2) An injunction requiring the Defendant to withdraw the Director Decision and/or to reconsider the same. (3) Interest. (4) Costs. (5) Such further or other relief as the Tribunal considers appropriate.”
What happens next?
It is possible either side will appeal the decision. And while legal minds familiar with these cases have suggested any appeal process could take up to 12 months to be heard and sorted, CAT themselves, when quizzed by NewcastleWorld, would not be drawn on timescales.
Their stance is that each case is different and there are no set timescales on appeals, etc.
Then, following any possible appeal and provided it goes ahead, a case hearing would then likely be set, which would decide when the actual case would be heard.