This is what Richard Masters has said on Newcastle United takeover amid Premier League change
Richard Masters has been commenting on the Premier League rule changes and the Newcastle United takeover
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Back in October the Magpies saw their near 15-year association with Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley end, with ownership switching over to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (80%), PCP Capital Partners (10%) and RB Sports & Media Ltd (10%).
And within weeks the league’s clubs had agreed to bring in tighter legislation in relation to what sponsors already linked to owners could pay. This vote saw just Newcastle United vote against, with Manchester City abstaining.
The other 18 all voted in favour of the adjustments.
Masters, speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, said the rule change was not a direct action of the £305million buyout at St James’ Park.
“It was brought in after Newcastle, but not necessarily as a result of that, just to make that clear,” he said at the event in London’s Mayfair.
“In essence, we concluded that the current regulations around related-party transactions didn’t work. They weren’t effective.
“We have a new definition and clubs now have to, in real time, have to register with the Premier League, in the process of concluding those deals, to make sure those deals are of bona fide and of fair market value.
“And if we don’t believe they are, we can reassess them and bring them back to fair market value.”
When asked how the Premier League would decide ‘fair market value’, Masters revealed the top flight’s commitment to making sure it gets things right in this department.
“We have built a database of all of the club’s deals going back five years. We have got some fantastic comparable evidence and we have got a team working on nothing else,” he said.
“That said, business has been quiet in the associated business party transactions department so far and it is all going fine.
“In the end you have to take a view using a process that has been agreed by the clubs.”
One of the big questions about the fan-led review, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, is whether there will be rules enshrined that could see ownership changes vetoed by the likes of fans or third parties.
On the subject, Masters said: “Powers to block change of ownership? I’m not sure that’s one of the recommendations.
“If you have a reformed ODT and put in a stiffer test - we are looking at that.
“I think that decisions made by bodies on change of ownership should be scrutinised by independent third parties. I think that is probably the right thing to do.
“We are absolutely happy with that.”