Newcastle United’s proposed takeover by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium has been delayed because of a lack of clarity over who would be in charge at the club.
Sixteen weeks after documents relating to a £300m takeover were registered with the Premier League, the deal is still being scrutinised under its owners’ and directors’ test.
But it is understood compliance requires greater certainty as to who would have ultimate responsibility at St James’ Park.
The bid has been led by British financier Amanda Staveley, but Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund (PIF) is set to take an 80% stake.
PIF’s chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and it appears the Premier League’s lawyers are struggling to establish the precise links between the consortium and the Saudi government.
This is crucial given the television rights piracy issues that have dogged the saga, with Saudi Arabia denying claims it facilitated the illegal streaming of sports events in the Middle East.
The Premier League, PIF and Magpies owner Mike Ashley have all declined to comment, but with only seven weeks until the new season starts, patience is starting to wear thin on all sides.