Premier League denies rejecting Saudi-led Newcastle takeover

A Saudi-led consortium withdrew their offer for the club on July 30. Credit: PA Images

The Premier League has denied rejecting a Saudi-backed takeover deal for Newcastle United, less than 24 hours after the club released a statement in which it said the league had turned down the bid based on its Owners and Directors Test.

The governing body says it was "disappointed and surprised" by the club's statement.

The Premier League response says: "The Premier League Board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition. That opinion is based on legal advice."

"This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information. They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board. As an alternative, the Board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June."

"It is also incorrect to suggest these decisions were taken by any individual; they were agreed unanimously by all Premier League Board members."

On Wednesday night, Newcastle United accused the Premier League and chief executive Richard Masters of not acting "appropriately".

"The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them", the statement said.

The club also accused the league of rejecting the deal despite "overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government."

The exchange comes more than a month after Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, withdrew their £340 million bid. 

According to the PA news agency, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley had been trying to revive PCP's interest in the deal.

Mike Ashley has owned the Magpies since 2007 Credit: PA Images

The retail tycoon flew into the club's Benton headquarters on Wednesday for the unveiling of the club's latest signings Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis. 

According to the statement released by Newcastle, Mike Ashley "understands fans’ frustrations and would like to reassure them that he has been fully committed to ensuring this takeover process reached completion as he felt it was in the best interests of the club."

"Mike continues to be fully supportive to Steve Bruce, the players and all the staff and wishes them well for the upcoming season."