Noel Whelan has accused the Premier League of showing favouritism to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and their top-flight rivals in its treatment of Newcastle United’s takeover bid.
The 46-year-old suggested that the reaction to the founders’ involvement in the breakaway European Super League had been less severe in comparison.
“It’s definitely a threat, I don’t think it should be done that way by the Premier League,” the former Leeds United attacker told Football Insider.
“They didn’t take this action when it came to Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea (over the Super League).
“So why now for Newcastle? It’s very harsh, and it’s a threat Newcastle don’t want.”
This follows from a report issued by The Telegraph claiming that Steve Bruce’s outfit had been threatened with being booted out of the Premier League with regard to a potential Saudi-backed takeover bid.
Taking into consideration the global outcry against the creation of a breakaway league, one might argue that the reaction to our (and others’) involvement in the process was somewhat significant.
That being said, given that the English top-flight already has one outfit with Saudi-based financial backing, it raises an important question as to why Newcastle’s takeover bid wasn’t given the all-clear.
According to one barrister (as quoted by the Express), acting on owner Mike Ashley’s behalf, “At the same time that the Premier League was reaching its decision, beIN was in the midst of negotiations for a new three-year broadcast rights deal. [These were] going on behind closed doors and without competitive tender process.
“The [broadcast] deal was announced in December, after the takeover was effectively blocked by the Premier League decision.
“A number of major clubs that control or strongly influence the Premier League also joined in the lobbying against the deal.
“Mr Richard Masters held more than one direct meeting with beIN at this time.”