GOVERNMENT officials have denied that Prime Minister Boris Johnson intervened in last summer’s attempted Saudi takeover of Newcastle United.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund, assisted by Amanda Staveley and the Reuben Brothers, had agreed a £300million deal with current owner Mike Ashley.
Boris Johnson was reportedly contacted by Mohammed bin Salman last summerCredit: EPA
The Saudi Public Investment Fund tried to take over Newcastle last summerCredit: Reuters
The PIF eventually withdrew from the deal last July, however, after growing frustrated at the Premier League’s concerns over whether the Saudi state, in effect Bin Salman, would own Newcastle.
Their main issue surrounded alleged state-backed piracy in the country, which included broadcasting of Premier League football.
According to the Mail, Bin Salman sent Johnson, 56, the message: “We expect the English Premier League to reconsider and correct its wrong conclusion.”
With concerns over UK-Saudi relations, Johnson reportedly asked a senior aide to investigate the matter.
But in response to the report, a Government spokesman told the Mirror: “While we welcome overseas investment, this was a commercial matter for the parties concerned and the Government was not involved at any point in the takeover talks on the sale of Newcastle United.”
Johnson backed calls for the Premier League to publicly reveal why they had not passed the PIF’s takeover.
And in August, he wrote to members of the Newcastle Supporters’ Trust: “I appreciate many Newcastle fans were hoping this takeover bid would go ahead and can understand their sense of disappointment.
“I have seen the recent email sent to Newcastle fans from the Independent Football Ombudsman and agree with their conclusion that the Premier League should make a statement on this case.”
Mike Ashley thought that Newcastle fans had ‘won the lottery’Credit: PA
Ashley himself is still fighting for the sale to eventually go through, with an agreement remaining in place between the two parties.
And a Mail source said: “In Mike’s eyes the club is sold. He feels Newcastle fans won the lottery but were denied a payout by the Premier League.
“He wants to know why that happened and is determined for the deal to be signed off.”
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