Former Rangers shareholder and billionaire club pariah Mike Ashley has failed in a bid to sell Premier League side Newcastle United to a Saudi Arabian consortium.
Newcastle United announced the deal to sell the St. James’ Park club was officially off this week after the Premier League rejected the Saudi group’s legitimacy.
The league wanted clarification of links between the group, Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund PIF and the Saudi state.
The consortium rejected the Premier League’s offer of aribitration in August after having previously agreed a £300m deal to buy the club from Ashley in April [BBC Sport].
However, the club bit back at the Premier League for the decision claiming enough evidence was provided to prove the consortium is “autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government”.
Newcastle reacted with frustration claiming that the decision had been reached based on the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
“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,” reads a Newcastle statement.
“This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government.”
Rangers fans will count blessing Ashley’s influence is gone from Ibrox
If Rangers fans think all of this is a headache, then spare a thought for the Newcastle United supporters.
The Toon Army have been dealing with Ashley for much longer than Rangers ever did and their club remains at the centre of questionable takeovers and nothing is ever straight forward.
A former shareholder at Ibrox, Ashley was one of the big obstacles to the club developing off the field in recent seasons with Gers fans forcing a boycott due to poorly weighted retail deals.
All existing contracts with Ashley – who sold his shareholding to the likes of Club 1872 in 2017 – came to an end in the summer with Rangers signing a £25m deal with sportswear brand Castore.
Whilst this hasn’t been without its own issues, looking down south, Rangers fans will still count their blessings the Sports Direct chief’s influence is gone from Ibrox