Half of the clubs in the Premier League have concerns over the proposed Saudi Arabian takeover of Newcastle United.
The £300m takeover - fronted by Newcastle fan and business woman Amanda Staveley and backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) - would bring Mike Ashley's 13-year reign to an end.
The takeover has sparked debate surrounding football's integrity due to Saudi Arabia's poor human rights record, the country's links to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and accusations that the takeover would be a form of sportwashing.
I wrote about Newcastle's takeover for @90min_Football a few days ago. There might be more room for nuance if the point wasn't so straightforward: this takeover should not happen. https://t.co/am4MGbpIYx— Chris Deeley (@ThatChris1209) April 21, 2020
Despite this lengthy list of controversies to take issue with, the main concern fellow Premier League clubs have about Newcastle's proposed takeover is the negative commercial impact it could have on themselves.
The report speculates that the clubs could group together and demand the Premier League block the takeover.
The takeover is currently in the hands of the Premier League, with a fit and proper owners' and directors' test being carried out.
However, there has been a hold up after the league's lawyers were presented with papers linking the Saudi government to a pirate streaming platform that illegally broadcasts top flight games.
The BeoutQ platform offers illegal viewing of Premier League games, bypassing the broadcast rights owned by beIN SPORTS.
If the paperwork proves a link between Saudi government and BeoutQ, this could be sufficient to fail the owners' and directors' test.
The test states that digital piracy is illegal.
This is where the major concerns lies with Premier League sides: they would be endorsing a new owner who has actively had a hand in harming their commercial interest in the Middle East.
The PIF have maintained that the piracy issue is nothing to do with them.
Source : 90min