Richard Keys questioned whether the Newcastle takeover will happen
On Bein Sports on Tuesday, Richard Keys hinted that the Newcastle United takeover deal could be blocked.
In a long-winded rant, Keys expressed his problems with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund proposal to take over the majority stake holding at St James’ Park.
The tail-end of Keys’ complaint also shone a spotlight on a Saudi Arabian company called BeoutQ. He said:
The reason I’m having difficulty with this is that, if it were to go through – and I’m still not sure it will – we at Bein Sports have spent the last two years fighting Saudi Arabia who have been broadcasting our sports rights illegally (through) a company called BeoutQ.
It has cost this company, Bein Sports, millions. It cost 400 of our colleagues’ jobs.
Premier League vs BeoutQ
It’s pretty clear that the Premier League don’t like BeoutQ either.
Indeed, the Premier League have been trying to shut down BeoutQ.
As reported in the AP in January 2019, FIFA, UEFA, the Asian Football Confederation plus the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga wrote a joint statement denouncing the “persistent and illegal screening” of matches which infringed on Bein Sports’ broadcasting rights.
Bein Sports: Premier League should block Newcastle takeover because of Saudi Arabia’s BeoutQ
While some may have scoffed at Keys’ suggestion that the takeover might not come to fruition, on Wednesday, the Times report that Bein Sports have stepped up attempts to have the deal scrapped.
The Times confirm that Bein Sports have petitioned the Premier League directly to deny the takeover.
In a letter written by Bein Sports chief executive, Yousef Al-Obaidly, the Premier League were told:
(The Saudi Arabian government have facilitated) the near three-year theft of the Premier League’s commercial rights – and in turn your club’s commercial revenues – through its backing of the huge-scale BeoutQ pirate service.
It is no exaggeration to say that the future economic model of football is at stake.
The danger of allowing the acquisition of a controlling or material interest (whether acquired directly or indirectly) in a major Premier League club by what is effectively the Saudi Arabian government cannot be ignored given the country’s past and continuing illegal actions and their direct impact upon the commercial interests of the Premier League, its member clubs, its broadcast partners and football in general.
As a longstanding partner and huge investor in the Premier League, we urge you to consider carefully all the implications of doing so.
The apparent involvement in the acquisition of NUFC of the principal sovereign wealth fund of the very country that for nearly three years has openly facilitated the operation of the largest and most sophisticated sports piracy service ever seen — beoutQ — greatly concerns us.
— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelena) April 21, 2020
So what will the Premier League do next?
The Premier League are under financial pressure to take Bein Sports’ complaint seriously.
As confirmed in the Times, Bein Sports is “English football’s biggest overseas broadcast partner”. The broadsheet continues to confirm:
The move by Bein presents a significant threat to the takeover being approved by the Premier League, given that its three-year TV deal is worth £500 million to the 20 clubs.
For the record, the Newcastle takeover is reportedly for 300 million pounds.