Newcastle owner Mike Ashley accuses Premier League of blocking £300m Saudi-led takeover


Newcastle owner Mike Ashley accuses Premier League of blocking £300m Saudi-led takeover to protect interests of ‘certain clubs’ and aims to beat ‘dark forces’ at work after filing lawsuit

  • Ashley, 56, has now filed an anti-competition lawsuit against the Premier League
  • Court documents say Premier League ‘prevented, or hindered’ Saudi takeover 
  • HMRC’s fraud investigation into the club’s transfer dealings has been dropped 

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has accused the Premier League of acting in the interests of ‘certain clubs’ by not approving their Saudi-led takeover, as he stepped up his legal fight to push through the deal and beat the ‘dark forces’.

Ashley has now filed an anti-competition lawsuit against the Premier League after the collapse of the £300million deal last summer.

Court documents stated: ‘(The Premier League) has a special responsibility to exercise its powers as a gatekeeper in a fair, objective and non-discriminatory manner and, in particular, not to exercise those powers for an ulterior commercial motive… by excluding new owners (it) has the potential to restrict competition between clubs.’

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has accused the Premier League of blocking a £300m takeover

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has accused the Premier League of blocking a £300m takeover

Court documents stated the Premier League ‘prevented, or hindered’ the Saudi-led takeover

The papers added that the Premier League had ‘failed’ to apply the rules of the owners and directors test in a ‘non-discriminatory fashion’.

The documents also continued that the Premier League it had used its powers for the ‘improper purpose’ of promoting the interest of ‘business associates’ or ‘certain clubs’, claiming that this is ‘detrimental to competition’.

It is also alleged the Premier League ‘prevented, or hindered, the proposed takeover and knew that its actions would prevent and/or delay the takeover’.

Ashley criticised ‘dark forces’ stopping Newcastle becoming a powerhouse in English football

The Premier League did not comment when approached by Sportsmail. 

Ashley is seeking financial damages and an injunction requiring the Premier League to withdraw or reconsider its decision not to sanction the Saudi takeover. He has already taken the League to an arbitration hearing, due to be heard this summer.

Meanwhile, HMRC’s four-year fraud investigation into the transfer dealings of Newcastle has been dropped.

Ashley said: ‘I am pleased that the criminal investigation has now been discontinued. It is now time for the dark forces that are preventing this football club from becoming the powerhouse that the fans deserve, to step aside.’

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