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Ashley encouraged by Prem's decision not to hold Saudi Arabia to account

NEWCASTLE’S bumbling billionaire owner Mike Ashley (pictured) has drawn encouragement from the Premier League’s decision not to call for Saudi Arabia to be kept on the US government’s piracy watchlist this year.

Ashley remains determined that a £300 million Saudi-led takeover of the club should be allowed to proceed and is involved in arbitration over the matter with the Premier League.

Sources within the consortium say they remain committed to a takeover if the arbitration goes in the club’s favour.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the dominant 80 per cent partner in the consortium looking to buy Newcastle.

The apparent link between the PIF and the Saudi state was widely reported as one of the key barriers to the takeover progressing last summer, in particular because of the country’s record on piracy. The PIF’s chair is despotic Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

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