Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
A key Premier League broadcast partner has called on club bosses to probe a Saudi Arabian bid to buy Newcastle United over piracy allegations, it said on Wednesday.
The Magpies are on the verge of being sold to a Saudi-backed consortium that involves Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for around £300 million ($368 million).
It was reported on Tuesday that a non-refundable deposit of £17 million has already been paid to current owner Mike Ashley as part of the deal. The Premier League must decide if the new owners meet the criteria in its owners and directors test.
Qatar-based BeIN accuses Saudi of masterminding the pirate broadcast of BeIN output, which included EPL games, as part of a spat between Doha and Riyadh. Saudi denies the claims.
In a letter to top-flight English clubs, BeIN urges them to put pressure on league officials to investigate whether Saudi “directors, officers and other representatives” would be fit and proper to own Newcastle.
“My request is purely based on the Saudi Arabia government’s role in the past and continuing theft of the commercial interests of your club, the Premier League, all its broadcast partners and football in general -- which, I think you would agree, simply cannot go ignored,” wrote BeIN Media chief executive Yousef al-Obaidly.