Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 August 2020

Newcastle supporters demand answers after takeover bid collapses

Saudi-backed consortium withdraws interest from £300 million deal

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers have announced in a statement they are withdrawing from the process to buy Newcastle. PA
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers have announced in a statement they are withdrawing from the process to buy Newcastle. PA

Newcastle United supporters said they have been 'treated with contempt' in the UK after a £300 million (Dh1.4billion) takeover bid from a Saudi-backed consortium collapsed on Thursday.

The group, which included Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, announced they were ending their interest in the deal which had been delayed by the Premier League's owners and directors test.

The end of the Saudi bid means the North East club still in the hands of British businessman Mike Ashley.

Many Newcastle fans had welcomed the takeover, seeing it as a chance to boost the club's fortunes.

Newcastle fans expressed frustration at the length of the Premier League's scrutiny and press criticism of the takeover.

"The supporters of Newcastle United have been treated with contempt by large parts of the football media and the Premier League during this failed takeover process," the NUFC Supporters Trust was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"It’s been made clear that we are the least important people in a decision which affects us the most. We need answers," they added.

Chi Onwurah, Labour Member of Parliament for Newcastle Central, said she will be contacting the Premier League.

"I know that many constituents will be disappointed and frustrated by the withdrawal of the latest NUFC takeover offer. I will be writing to the Premier League to ask why they took so long and gave so little clarity to NUFC fans," she wrote on Twitter.

The city's local newspaper, The Chronicle, published an open letter to the Premier League saying the team's supporters were owed an explanation.

"Having dreamed of something different, the city now confronts the reality of what Newcastle are: unloved, divorced from its people, deeply divided and facing the most uncertain of futures," the paper wrote.

"The Premier League tonight stands accused of blocking a once-in-a-lifetime investment in the city and football club. It is a serious accusation that demands a response," it added.

Noting that the Premier League has kept quiet, observing the confidential nature of the owners and directors test, the paper said the time had come for openness.

"But without clarity or the decency to even acknowledge the festering sores at one of your member clubs, we do not know. Left in the dark, Newcastle fans are furious tonight," The Chronicle said.

Updated: July 31, 2020 10:17 AM

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