The long-running Saudi takeover saga took yet another twist this week when a World Trade Organization (WTO) report ruled that the country had hosted pirate Premier League broadcasts of matches shown by a network based in bitter regional rivals Qatar.
While it’s not known whether the ruling will affect the proposed £300 million (US$375 million) Saudi takeover of Newcastle, it adds to existing calls for the Premier League to block the deal on human rights grounds.
The deal on offer from the Saudi-led group would see them take an 80 percent stake in the North East club through their mammoth Public Investment Fund (PIF), with the remaining share being divided between UK broker Amanda Staveley and billionaire property developers the Reuben brothers.
However, with the deal now at the consideration stage for around two months, US mogul Mauriss has stepped up his attempts to buy the club, according to Sky Sports.
Mauriss, who made his fortune through the Credit America Corporation empire and now runs network platform ClearTV, reportedly made contact earlier this year with current Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.
According to Sky Sports, Mauriss has now made a new £350 million ($440 million) bid, and is keen to push through a takeover before the start of the 2020/21 season.
That status of the supposed bid would likely rest on whether the Saudi-led deal gets over the line.
Premier League chief Richard Masters has so far been tight-lipped on the status of the takeover, which is being considered under the league’s fit-and-proper owners test.