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Newcastle United fans demand answers from Premier League

Newcastle United fans say they have been “ignored by the Premier League” following the collapse of the club’s takeover and the leading supporters’ group on Tyneside is now demanding answers.

Last week the prospective buyers – the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers – pulled out of a deal that could have seen the end of Mike Ashley’s extremely unpopular 13-year reign at the north east club.

Having agreed a deal in Spring, there had been a four-month wait as the bid was scrutinised under the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.

But Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust (NUST) say supporters and people in the north east of England “have been ignored” by the Premier League after the region “missed out on potentially hundreds of millions of pounds of investment”. The trust is now leading a political campaign which they hope will provide answers.

NUST said: “The Premier League may have sound reasons for drawing out the takeover process for more than four months and the Premier League may have done everything they needed to do to protect their business and Newcastle United.

“However, there must be transparency after the process has completed. Answers must be provided about decisions which affect millions of people in our region.”

The trust is now calling on supporters to write to their MPs to demand answers from the league. The trust’s campaign follows on from a petition led by Newcastle United fans that has gained almost 80,000 signatures in a week.

“We are calling on local politicians to come together to request that the Premier League provide answers to supporters about this process,” NUST said.

“The aim is to better understand a process that has denied this region of investment when it needs it most. The people of this region shouldn’t be kept in the dark about decisions that affect them the most.”

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah is one political figure who has already taken the issue up.

She wrote to the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters about the takeover process earlier this week – she said it urgently shows that the Government must deliver on it’s pledge to have a “fan-led” review of football governance.

“I am not arguing the Premier League should have approved the sale,” Chi said. “I am not an advocate for the Saudis, or for Mr Ashley, or for any billionaire, I advocate for the people of Newcastle central.

“But the Premier League should have made a decision and engaged with fans in the process, rather than sitting on the takeover for months until the prospective buyers lost patience.”

Both Labour and the Conservative parties committed to reviewing football governance in their manifestos ahead of December’s election. The issues surrounding the game’s regulation have remained in the spotlight this summer as, along with the Newcastle United takeover saga, a number of EFL clubs have been engulfed in crisis.

Chi said: “I hope you understand that this further strengthens the argument for greater regulation of the Premier League, more financial and governance transparency, and more involvement of fans in decision making.

“I shall therefore be asking the Government to act immediately on its manifesto promise of a ‘fan-led’ review into the structures of the national game.”

 

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