In an incendiary intervention the Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, has accused Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, of acting inappropriately in blocking a Saudi Arabian-led takeover of the club.
Club executives are taking legal advice as they explore ways of forcing the Premier League to permit a £300m buyout that Ashley maintains Masters had no basis for failing to approve.
The gloves came off as Newcastle issued a statement on Wednesday night which can be regarded as a declaration of war. In it they claimed the Premier League had rejected the attempted buyout on the part of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and its partners, the billionaire Reuben brothers and Amanda Staveley.
Although the consortium withdrew its offer in July after waiting more than 17 weeks for the Premier League to complete its owners’ and directors’ test – a process which normally takes a month – discreet talks have continued in the hope of reviving a controversial deal understood to be supported by the British government.