Newcastle Utd confirm legal dispute with league over failed takeover

Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

(Reuters) – Newcastle United have confirmed that they are involved in arbitration proceedings against the Premier League (EPL) over an aborted takeover attempt by a Saudi Arabian-backed consortium earlier this year.

The Shields Gazette, a local newspaper in England’s north east, reported here on Tuesday that the Premier League had confirmed it was in a legal dispute with the club in a letter to Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd.

“The club is aware of public reports which state that… the EPL referred to legal proceedings with the club… in a letter to Newcastle supporters,” the club said here in a statement on Thursday.

“In light of the information disclosed by the EPL, (Newcastle United) has no choice but to respond and update its fans in response to this coverage.

“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 proposed 300 million-pound ($396 million) takeover of the club owned by British businessman Mike Ashley collapsed in July.

The Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters said in August that the bid failed after the consortium declined an offer of independent arbitration and voluntarily withdrew.

However, in September, Newcastle accused the Premier League of acting inappropriately in rejecting the takeover bid based on an owners and directors’ test and said they would be “considering all relevant options available”.

The consortium included Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers.