In February this year, Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb warned beIN Sports, stating that they were "right there alongside the Qatar-owned broadcasters." Now, beIN Sports has challenged the Premier League to block the £300 million ($372 million) Newcastle takeover led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.
BeIN Sports are the second-biggest overseas broadcast rights holders of the Premier League. They boast of a £500 million ($616 million) worth, three-year deal. The same broadcasters have now challenged the Premier League to block the Newcastle takeover. The Magpies are on the verge of a Newcastle takeover after 13 years under the leadership of UK businessman Mike Ashley.
It is reported that the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund will acquire an 80% stake in the Mike Ashley-owned Premier League club. The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is led by the kingdom's Crown Prince and de facto ruler Prince Mohamed bin Salman - the son of King Salman.
Since 2017, Saudi-Qatar relations have hit a roadblock compelling Saudi Arabia to impose a blockade on the 2022 World Cup hosts. This battle is now being escalated in the Premier League with beIN Sports CEO Yousef al-Obaidly writing to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, blaming the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund for its alleged involvement in the pirate TV network beoutQ, which has been broadcasting Premier League games illegally since 2017.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied allegations over its alleged involvement in the incident. The Premier League even spoke to nine law firms based out of Saudi Arabia, who either refused to act or recused themselves against the piracy allegations. The pirate network has reportedly led to millions in losses for beIN sports.
Al Obaidly, in his letter to the Premier League, asked the body to investigate the soon-to-be-announced Newcastle takeover. He also urged a thorough investigation into the role of the people who own shares in the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, further asking for the matter to be taken up at the concerned levels if the deal does take place.