Government told to block Saudi Newcastle deal

The government has been advised to block the Saudi Arabian takeover of Newcastle United until it investigates TV piracy in the country.

The World Trade Organisation ruled that the country helped breach international piracy on behalf of broadcaster beoutQ which has allegedly been illegally broadcasting Premier League football matches.

Angus MacNeil, chair of the International Trade Select Committee, has now written to the trade secretary Liz Truss to voice his concerns.

“As you would have seen, the WTO has made a landmark ruling on the protection of sports rights, which is one of the UK’s most valuable and treasured exports,” says the letter, according to the BBC.

“In its ruling, the WTO held that the government of Saudi Arabia has, from the beginning, been actively… supporting the ‘beoutQ’ piracy operation that has stolen the commercial rights of UK sports bodies for three years.

“This is an insult to the UK government, affront to the Premier League, and abuse of UK sport – and should not be tolerated.

“This is relevant today, right now, because the very entity that has been stealing premium UK sports and entertainment content is attempting to buy a major UK sporting institution – Newcastle United Football Club.

“The UK government must now play its part in protecting our creative industry exports by investigating the launch, promotion and operation of the beoutQ service.”