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Premier League chief explains “assurances” received over Newcastle’s takeover

Question marks over who exactly is involved in the takeover of Newcastle United have rumbled on since the deal was first announced, though the Premier League insist all is fine

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Newcastle United: What will the takeover mean?

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has explained how the organisation has “ways of being comfortable and satisfied” that Newcastle United will not involve itself with the Saudi state.

The St James’ Park faithful enjoyed a party that lasted multiple days outside their stadium following the news that Saudi Arabia ‘s sovereign wealth fund had purchased the club.

However, accusations of ‘sport-washing’ soon followed, with many fearful of just how involved the Saudi state would be with the team.

The Premier League aimed to quash the fear and criticism by explaining how it had received “legally binding assurances” the club would be run legitimately.

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is chair of the public investment fund that have bought Newcastle United
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While Masters explained how the owners can be removed if “evidence to the contrary” is found, he conceded that the league may not be in the know if the country’s Crown Prince, also the chairman of Public Investment Fund – gave orders to the club’s directors.

Speaking to the BBC for the first time since the takeover was approved, Masters explained: “In that instance, I don’t think we would know. [But] I don’t think it is going to happen.”

Many have questioned whether there is much difference between the Saudi state and PIF, but Masters has insisted they are separate entities when dealing with Newcastle.

“There is a corporate difference between the two, there is.

“That is what we were investigating – whether the Saudi state could control the club through the investment fund. We have received assurances that is not the case.”

The decision to allow the takeover to go ahead sparked outrage among human rights groups who claim Saudi Arabia’s tarnished record on the very same subject they fight for means the PIF should be blocked from purchasing the club.

Masters actually went on to reveal that some aspects over a potential Saudi-state involvement are actually out of the Premier League’s hands.

Premier League chief Richard Masters has explained that he has received “assurances” there is no Saudi-state involvement at Newcastle United

“The takeover has gone through and we have to be comfortable that all the things we do at the Premier League will be preserved under the new ownership and the equality and diversity scheme will be preserved.

“You can’t have one rule for one and one for another and so Newcastle will be run on the right basis.

“PIF are an investor in many other companies in this country and maybe football is being targeted and talked about in a different way.

“I can’t choose who is chairing a football club. The owners test doesn’t let us take a view on that.”

Newcastle’s new regime have already made their first big change, sacking previous manager Steve Bruce and replacing him with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.

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