Newcastle owner files lawsuit against Premier League

Tax officials raided Newcastle United's St James' Park home ground in April 2017

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has filed a lawsuit against the Premier League and says it’s time for “dark forces to step aside” regarding the club’s takeover.

Ashley claims the Premier League blocked the £300m deal last summer and is seeking damages after the Saudi Arabian-backed deal collapsed.

Ashley also claimed the league breached competition law “by excluding new owners and new investment in clubs”.

The Premier League has declined to comment.

Ashley is seeking damages for loss of “profit, or alternatively, opportunity” and an injunction for the Premier League to reverse its decision about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia being considered as a director of the club.

The Premier League has maintained it did not block the sale of Newcastle and offered arbitration over the disagreement with regard to who would run the club.

The consortium, led by Amanda Staveley, backed away from the deal in August 2020, but Ashley said he still hopes to sell the club to the same buyers.

The club is now seeking its own arbitration to settle its dispute with the Premier League as it seeks to push through a deal.

Ashley said: “It is now time for the dark forces that are preventing this football club from becoming the power house that the fans deserve, to step aside.”

Meanwhile, HM Revenue & Customs has dropped its four-year-long criminal investigation into Newcastle regarding transfer payments for former players.

Magpies managing director Lee Charnley was arrested as part of a tax fraud investigation – Operation Loom – in 2017.

The club was alleged by HMRC to have made “secret” payments to agents and players for transfers including those of forwards Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, plus former midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

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Following the discontinuation of the probe, Ashley said: “After four years of the club being subjected to this investigation, I am pleased that the criminal investigation has now been discontinued.”

Source: BBC