Newcastle United consortium ‘concerned’ as takeover decision ‘should’ve been made by now’

Newcastle United‘s prospective new owners hold a “degree of concern” over the length of time the Premier League are taking to make a decision over their takeover of the club, says transfer expert Duncan Castles. Current Newcastle owner Mike Ashley last month agreed to sell the club for £300million to the Saudi Arabia-backed PCP Capital Partners.

However, there the consortium are yet to pass the Premier League owners and directors test.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, led by Crown Prince bin Salman, have been under scrutiny from human rights groups and have also been accused of piracy of Premier League matches in Saudi Arabia.

Castles says he has spoken to people close to the consortium, who he says understand the delay as the Premier League focus their attention on Project Restart following the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he claims if the decision was a simple one for the authorities, then it would have been made by now.

“There are lots of people who want the Premier League to say no to [the takeover],” Castles said on the Transfer Window podcast.

“I’m hearing that there’s a degree of concern amongst the consortium as to the time this is taking.

“When I asked about it today, the response I got was: ‘We were told we would not get a decision this week, so it’s not unexpected’.

“‘We were told at the start of the week after the Premier League meeting that we weren’t going to get a decision this week, so we’re calm about it, our understanding is that this is because of Project Restart and the Premier League want to focus on the much bigger issue for them’ – which is can they get football restarted again and the significant resistance from clubs to the plans that have been put forward so far to get that restart made, and they want to deal with the Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle after they’ve resolved it.

“So that’s the official, in inverted commas, line coming from the takeover parties at present.

“I don’t think it’s entirely clear that they will get approval at this stage.

“If it was clear, if it was a simple decision, the decision should have been made by now.

“The fact that the Premier League are putting it off because they are dealing with other problems underlines that it is inherently controversial for them.”