NEWCASTLE’S £300million Saudi takeover was given the green light — after the Gulf state buckled in its piracy battle with Qatar.
The deal could even be completed as soon as Thursday with the Premier League’s approval.
In a major move to unblock a four-year logjam, the Saudi government lifted its ban on Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports.
Toon owner Mike Ashley was due to battle the Premier League in arbitration next January to force the sale through.
But this will now be dropped, allowing Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the Reuben brothers and Amanda Staveley to complete the takeover they launched nearly two years ago.
SunSport understands the Prem are now satisfied there will be no control of the club by the Saudi government through PIF.
And it leaves Steve Bruce’s job hanging by a thread, with the Magpies boss looking set for the chop soon after the new owners arrive on Tyneside.
The Saudis and Qataris have been locked in a brutal dispute as Doha-based beIN had its feed across the Middle East hijacked.
A Saudi-owned duplicate, called beOUTQ, used set-top boxes available across the region to distribute the beIN feed, costing the Qataris multi-millions in revenues.
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While beOUTQ was shut down after two years in 2019, it was cited by the Prem and other sports authorities including Fifa, Uefa and the IOC. And the beIN feed was still blocked by Saudi authorities.
A World Trade Organisation report accused the Saudi government of direct involvement, as part of the feud with Qatar, that led to the six-nation blockade of the Doha regime.
Prem chiefs refused to rule on the planned Saudi-led £300m takeover of Newcastle as they investigated the links between ruler Mohammed bin Salman and the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, which was to own 80 per cent of Newcastle United.
That stalling saw St. James’ Park owner Ashley launch legal proceedings against the Prem, with an arbitration hearing due to be held in January.
But the news that the Saudis have capitulated, reversing the block on the beIN feed and agreeing to settle the company’s legal cases — including a £750m investment arbitration claim — could be the game-changer Newcastle fans have waited for.
SunSport understands the U-turn has been greeted with relief and delight in Qatar.
More critically, beIN, which recently confirmed a new £370m three-year deal for Prem rights in the Middle East and North Africa region until 2025, will no longer object to a possible Saudi-led buy-out.
That would eliminate the commercial opposition which has been the main plank of the Prem stance and see the ongoing legal cases and the Prem arbitration hearing dropped.
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