Amanda Staveley has urged the Government to back calls for greater transparency over the Premier League’s handling of her failed bid for Newcastle.
Staveley, the financier who headed the largely Saudi-funded consortium which attempted to buy the Magpies last year, wrote an open letter to former Conservative sports minister Tracey Crouch on Sunday, days after club owner Mike Ashley had demanded greater transparency over the Premier League’s handling of the takeover.
Ashley is currently fighting a legal battle on two fronts as he attempts to rekindle the proposed £300million-plus takeover.
Staveley’s consortium, which comprises her PCP Capital Partners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – the majority partner – and the Reuben Brothers, withdrew its offer in July last year after a 17-week wait for the governing body to complete its owners’ and directors’ test.
Concerns over the relationship between the PIF and the Saudi state and alleged TV piracy were the twin roots of the problem, although the prospective buyers insisted they had addressed all the relevant concerns.
The Magpies owner has since launched an arbitration case, which is scheduled to be heard this month, and lodged a claim with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in an attempt to clear the way to resurrect the deal.
“I really would urge Government to join our voice,” Staveley told Sky Sports News.
“It is in the best interests of the Government, of the regulators and the fans and, eventually the Premier League, as you will only encourage investment into football if stakeholders can see this is a transparent, well-run organisation.
“I absolutely sympathise with Mike’s position. He has worked tirelessly to try and sell the club. He said he needed to sell the club and that he needed a buyer with deep pockets. He said it’s not about the cash in his pockets, it’s about who can put the cash in Newcastle’s pockets.
“So he has done exactly what the fans have urged him to do but he can’t get there. We actually struck a legal deal in April last year and we are some 15 months later and we are still not there, so I understand his position.”
Staveley insists she will not give up but admits she is dismayed by the length of the process.
“I’m mystified, I am staggered,” she said. “It took 17 weeks to get a decision – or not to get a decision – and we are still here 15 months later.
“We have tried our hardest to acquire the club and we are determined to do so. It has been an extraordinary process. If we don’t get that intervention from Government and they don’t listen to what we are saying today then I fear that this process will just lapse and we will never have a fair hearing.
“We believe that this is important for Newcastle and the fans and we will never give up.”
Meanwhile, Crouch, the chair of a fan-led review of football governance, has pleaded with Newcastle supporters to “stop shouting” at her about the ongoing takeover saga.
After Crouch had indicated in her reply that Staveley’s concerns did not fall within her remit, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford found herself a target for increasingly frustrated fans of the Tyneside club on social media, prompting her appeal.
Crouch said on Twitter: “Dear Newcastle fans, stop shouting at me. I am doing an unpaid role looking at the future of football.
“I am not the sports minister. I do not have any powers to intervene in the proposed takeover. I am not ‘passing the buck’ when I have no jurisdiction over the matter. Ta. TC.”