The Premier League have reportedly given the green light to a proposed £300million takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi-backed consortium, Public Investment Fund. There had been a delay while authorities continue to work on Project Restart as they try to get the game up and running amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The move will mean an end to Mike Ashley's 13-year ownership of the club, with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia - led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - taking an 80 per cent stake.
The Saudi consortium, assembled by financier Amanda Staveley, also includes billionaire British businessmen the Reuben brothers, who will have a 10% stake, and is understood to be closing in on a completion.
The Premier League have given the green light for Saudi-led consortium to take charge of Newcastle United leaving just the transfer of funds to be sorted.— NUFC HQ (@NUFC_HQ) May 21, 2020
Once the funds and paperwork are completed an announcement will be made on or around June 1st.#NUFC | Neil Custis pic.twitter.com/XWsEEcxeKt
The ChronicleLive claim that their Premier League application is in its final stages and it is believed that an announcement is expected to be made around June 1. However, the top-flight will leave Newcastle to announce the news first, rather than make their own statement about the takeover.
There has been some opposition to the bid, with critics highlighting Saudi Arabia's poor human rights record and allegations of links to illegal streaming of sports events including football matches. But the bid has now passed the league's fit and proper persons' test for owners and directors
When asked about the situation by the Chronicle, Steve Bruce said: "As far as I am concerned, it is very difficult for me to comment on because I don't know. I haven't got any answers.
"All I have done is read about it in the Press. In the meantime as I have said many times - whatever is best for Newcastle United then that's OK with me. That's all I want."