MANCHESTER (Reuters) – The English Premier League’s rules covering proposed takeovers of clubs are to be reviewed amid the lingering fallout from the failed Saudi Arabian bid to take over Newcastle United.
The review of the ‘Owners and Directors Test’, previously known as the ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ test, was already underway before the Newcastle case, which had prompted criticism from the club and their fans.
The Premier League, along with the Football League (EFL), had committed to a review of the rules and procedure following the demise of League One club Bury after its ownership problems.
“Generally speaking, (with) the owners’ and directors’ test, we are in the process of having a look at it anyway and all of our rules require a fresh look every now and then,” said Premier League CEO Richard Masters.
“We were doing so in concert with the FA and EFL post Bury in any event. So I think that will continue,” he told reporters.
Newcastle said on Wednesday (Sept 9) that the Premier League had rejected the bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).
The Premier League had never stated that they had rejected the bid and the consortium itself stated in July that it had “withdrawn” the proposal, citing the lengthy process.
“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,” said the club statement.
The Premier League declined to comment on the Newcastle statement.
Masters had said that he understood why fans were frustrated with the lack of information through the process but said that it was a tricky balancing act for the league.
“It’s right that in situations of commercial transactions there is an expectation of confidentiality and we certainly support that. That has to be balanced off against I think of the ability to keep fans updated if things do become complicated and do take longer than normal,” he said.
“Of course we will take stock on what happened. We have been as transparent as we can and that’s meant be talking – albeit briefly – to members of the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust and answering some of their questions as best as I could.
“I am also writing an open letter to local Newcastle MPs (Members of Parliament) explaining what I could about the process and the issues we faced.”