Premier League 'comfortable and satisfied' Saudi state not involved with Newcastle 2 months ago

Premier League 'comfortable and satisfied' Saudi state not involved with Newcastle

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters is 'satisfied' that the Saudi state is not involved in the running of Newcastle United

The Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has said the league is confident that the Saudi state is not involved in the running of Newcastle United.

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Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) completed and 80 per cent majority stake takeover of Newcastle in October. The deal was subject to heavy criticism after it emerged Mohamed Bin Salman, Saudi's crown prince, was named as the PIF's chair.

Masters has reiterated they were given 'legally binding assurances' that the Saudi state would not be involved. If found guilty, he added, the Premier League have the right to revoke the ownership.

"The takeover has gone through and we have to be comfortable that all the things we do at the Premier League will be preserved under the new ownership and the equality and diversity scheme will be preserved," Masters told the BBC.

"You can't have one rule for one and one for another and so Newcastle will be run on the right basis.

"PIF are an investor in many other companies in this country and maybe football is being targeted and talked about in a different way. I can't choose who is chairing a football club. The owners test doesn't let us take a view on that."

The chief executive did admit though that they had no knowledge on if Bin Salman had given the PIF orders in regards to the takeover.

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Masters' comments come after Gary Hoffman recently stepped down from his role as chairman of the Premier League over the criticism surrounding the controversy of the takeover.

One of the main criticisms people have towards the takeover is the poor human rights record in Saudi Arabia.

This weekend's Premier League fixtures will promote equality and inclusion with the annual Rainbow Laces' event, however in the Middle Eastern state, acts of homosexuality are considered illegal and can be punishable by death.

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Masters says that he understands the concerns surrounding the club, but is assured that they are abiding by the rules set out.

"Of course I see the conflict," he said.

"What I am concerned about is that the club itself is abiding by all of those [equality and diversity] key criteria and, to my satisfaction, they are."

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