The Saudi-backed £300m takeover of Newcastle United is in doubt after it emerged that the state piracy of TV games has cost the Premier League’s broadcast partner billions.
The Saudis are struggling to pass the Premier League ownership checks as the league itself has been pursuing them for two years for illegally broadcasting games, reports the Mirror.
The deal to buy Newcastle is 80 per cent funded by the Saudi state’s Public Investment Fund chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the head of state.
The takeover was initially thought to be allowed within three weeks, amid claims that there were “no red flags”, but this new development has provided a significant stumbling block.
The Premier League’s legal team – who have to approve the deal – have been battling with the Saudis for the last two years for what the league itself has said is piracy on an “unprecedented scale”.
One broadcaster, beIN Sports, claimed it has cost them one billion US dollars in lost subscriptions, advertising revenue and legal fees.
The Saudi state has also been pursued by FIFA, UEFA, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and French league as well as the Premier League.
However various Saudi law firms refused to take on the Premier League’s cases and their courts were closed to the complaints.
A source told the Mirror: “The country who are now trying to buy a Premier League club and trying to pass the owners and directors have stolen from the very organisation they now need the approval from.”