The purchase of a Saudi investment fund for Newcastle has sparked a new controversy. This time, the Department for International Trade has released documents showing the alleged involvement of the UK government in facilitating the approval of the Premier League takeover.
According to the Guardian, then-investment minister Lord Gerry Grimstone asked then-Premier League chief Gary Hoffman in August 2020 to share legal advice to the league on a “way forward” to agree to negotiations.
The documents show the efforts made by the minister to serve as a bridge of communication between the Premier League and the government of Saudi Arabia in the approval process. The information will be in notes that include government officials and the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The documents consist of four memos involving the minister, officials at the UK government headquarters and the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia and include calls and text messages.
Grimston was investment minister from 2019 to 2022, when he resigned after Boris Johnson stepped down as prime minister. According to the newspaper, he had high contacts in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
Both the UK government and the Premier League deny any interference by the British state in the Newcastle buyout approval process.
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