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How the stalled Saudi takeover of Newcastle United can be revived

FIFA President Gianni Infantino visited Saudi Arabia last week and appeared in a government PR video.

He raved about the “incredible” culture, and spoke of “breathing the greatness of this country.”

In a slick film released by the county’s Ministry of Sport he insisted: “Saudi football is in excellent hands…. We are cooperating to be at an even higher level.”

Saudi footballing ambitions… good enough for the FIFA’s top man, but not good enough to own a Premier League club like Newcastle United.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino visited Saudi Arabia last week

That’ll be the cynical, and understandable, response from Tyneside fans.

Infantino even met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the Public Investment Fund that wanted to spend £300m on Newcastle United, until the deal stalled indefinitely in July.

It is time for an end game to be negotiated in the saga of St James’ Park, the Saudis and Mike Ashley.

Hopes that the deal can be rekindled have been raised by a thawing in diplomatic relations between the Saudi’s and Qatar.

But did Infantino open up a pathway? Did he raise FIFA being denied access to the Saudi legal system to stop their pirate operation beoutQ?

Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi investment fund wanted to buy Newcastle United off Mike Ashley
Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi investment fund wanted to buy Newcastle

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Did he insist the Saudis must lift their ban on Premier League broadcast partner Qatar based beIN Sports? He should have.

North East MPs should also be campaigning for this, instead of turning their fire on the Premier League.

The Newcastle takeover stands no chance of going through until the Saudis are allowing top flight games to be shown legally.

That is now said to be a top issue for the UK government, made more important since beIN penned a new $500m deal to 2025.

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The league is a major British global export, and the government does not want it stolen, or banned.

While Infantino raves, the Premier League is waiting to see what the Saudis actually DO to rehabilitate their reputation, with their takeover legal rows pending.

Only then will they stand a chance of getting their hands on Newcastle United, and finally get the chance to revive a club currently going nowhere.




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