The chief executive of Newcastle City Council has written to the Premier League calling for answers over the failed takeover.
In a letter to Premier League head Richard Masters, the local authority boss says she is willing to meet with footballing authorities to discuss a “compromise” to revive the deal.
After 17 weeks of discussions behind closed doors, the would-be Saudi-backed buyers of Newcastle United walked away, criticising the league for delays.
The prospective buyers chose to go public with their concerns, but the Premier League hasn’t yet commented publicly on the matter.
It’s thought Saudi links to piracy of football broadcasts and question marks over the exact ownership structure of the club were key hurdles the two parties couldn’t overcome.
In a statement sanctioned by the Saudi Arabian public investment fund and broker Amanda Staveley said “the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable”.
Now the city council chief exec has entered the debate, calling for a formal explanation from footballing authorities and claiming investment in the city would be lost if the deal does not progress.
Here’s the letter in full:
“As Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council I write to express my concern and disappointment that the Premier League took so long to consider the proposed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club and that as a result of those delays the deal seems to have collapsed.
“Whilst we understand that the Premier League has due process to follow you will also be aware that for cities that host Premiership Clubs these investments can be about more than football – the impact of such investment into the wider city and the region can be transformational.
“As our city starts to rebuild and emerge from COVID we are clear that continuing investment and job creation in the city will play a critical part in our recovery.
“Our city centre development zones are ready for investment and the partners involved in this deal were keen to work with us to unlock commercial activity.
“Members of the consortium spear-heading this deal had made a clear long-term commitment to the city to help drive growth and regeneration, from investment in the city’s physical infrastructure to working with the Newcastle United Foundation.
“The Foundation’s main objective is to support the local community using the power of football to encourage learning, support employability and promote healthy lifestyles that make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children.
“It is on this basis that I write to request an explanation of the reasons behind the lack of decision making over this 17 week period.
“We are keen to understand if there is an opportunity to pursue a compromise that both satisfies the Premier League’s concerns and also helps demonstrate the positive impact that football can deliver to the city and facilitate much needed growth.
“I am happy to discuss this further with your officers – and happy to share the wider investment ambitions of the partners if you are willing to take this opportunity.”