Soccer

Newcastle United accuse Premier League of ongoing arbitration case leaks

Newcastle United have confirmed that they are in the process of taking arbitration action against the Premier League for leaking confidential material related to the failed takeover of the club by a Saudi Arabia-backing consortium earlier this year.

The group — consisting of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, British businesswoman Amanda Stavely and a British-based property company — were set to pay current owner Mike Ashley around $400 million for the club and the stadium.

However, the Saudi consortium was the target of significant pressure for the league to block the sale and ultimately resulted in Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund citing “an unforeseen prolonged process” as their main reason for backing out.

The Premier League had been checking the proposed deal since April and did not comment officially about its collapse.

However, Newcastle feel that the Premier League shared the contents of their letter to United supporters and that the information is now being used in the public domain.

“The Club has previously not commented on the arbitration it is pursuing against the Premier League with respect to its conduct relating to the proposed takeover because of the confidentiality clause in the EPL’s rules,” read the statement.

“However, the Club is aware of public reports which state that, on 17 November, the EPL referred to legal proceedings with the Club (social media posts referring to the ‘Club’s own legal case’) in a letter to Newcastle supporters.

“The source of some of the reporting is said to be the EPL. It appears, therefore, that the EPL has leaked the contents of their letter to some of those commenting in the public domain.

“The Club understands that these will be matters of great concern to its fans and therefore considers that, in light of the information disclosed by the EPL, it has no choice but to respond and update its fans in response to this coverage.”

Newcastle then went on to confirm that legal action against the EPL is underway with no further details.

“The Club makes no comment on the substance of the arbitration, but it can confirm that it has issued arbitration proceedings against the EPL,” the statement read.

“It is unclear when those proceedings will be resolved, given the approach of the EPL and its lawyers, Bird and Bird. Nevertheless, the Club will continue to use its best efforts to press for a fair, full and timely hearing of its claim.”

Newcastle are currently 13th in the Premier League table after eight matches — one point above Manchester United and eight above the relegation zone.


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