Game Over: Saudi Arabian Takeover Of Premier League Newcastle United Called Off

Newcastle United remains under the ownership of Mike Ashley

Shearer, who also managed the Tyneside club briefly in 2009, said fans" hopes had been raised of a change of ownership which would enable them to truly compete with the Premier League's "Big Six'.

The takeover bid had been condemned by Amnesty International and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, over Saudi's human rights record, putting pressure on the Premier League not to give it the green light in its owners' and directors' test.

There have been re-negotiations over the sale price of the club, which went above £300million having originally been agreed at £340million before the coronavirus pandemic struck, but this was not a deal-breaker and relations between the bidders and Ashley remained good.

The end of the Saudi bid left the North East club still in the hands of British businessman Mike Ashley, who has long faced protests and opposition from the fans.

But the proposed £300m ($390m) takeover collapsed on Thursday when the PIF, billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, and Amanda Staveley of PCP Capital Partners said they had withdrawn their interest after three months waiting for the Premier League's approval.

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But a statement on behalf of the PIF, along with PCP Capital and RB Sports & Media who would have each taken a ten per cent stake, read: 'The prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.

But in a statement, Charnley seemed to suggest the deal could be resurrected. Never say never, but to be clear Mike Ashley is 100% committed to this deal.

But a source close to the bid said they believed the Premier League had been influenced by the BeIN Sports issue and political considerations. Many Newcastle fans had welcomed the takeover, seeing it as a chance to boost the club's fortunes through investment in new players.

"As often occurs with proposed investments in uncertain periods, time itself became an enemy of the transaction, particularly during this hard phase marked by the many real challenges facing us all from COVID-19", they added. "This is catastrophic for them".

That decision means that there is no legal means to watch Premier League football in Saudi Arabia until at least 2022. "I don't know, there may be a way forward, but we have had to put a statement out", she added.

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