Roma opens 'discreet' takeover talks with Saudi crown prince

Roma opens 'discreet' takeover talks with Saudi crown prince as Newcastle sale stagnates
2 min read
15 May, 2020
AS Roma's owners are reportedly keen to show MbS that the club up for sale, however have insisted they are not sabotaging the ongoing Newcastle deal.
Crown Prince Mohammed is currently part of a Newcastle United takeover bid [Getty]

Italian Serie A side AS Roma have reportedly contacted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss a takeover of the club, despite the powerful young prince's involvement in a bid to buy Newcastle United.

Roma owner James Pallotta has said he is open to a deal with the crown prince if the Newscastle deal falls through, according to The Daily Star.

Pallotta, who is reportedly keen to sell the club, has previously held discussions with Saudi investors.

The takeover of Newcastle United by a consortium backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund hit another stumbling block on Thursday, as a British MP called for a parliamentary evidence session into the alleged piracy of sports broadcast rights.

Giles Watling, a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee (DCMS), called on his group to hold an evidence session into the activities of the beoutQ network, with Premier League representatives proposed as witnesses.

BeoutQ has been the target of sports rights holders around the world for illegally broadcasting events including Premier League matches.

Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN accuses Saudi of masterminding the pirate broadcast of its output as part of a spat between Doha and Riyadh.

Riyadh has always denied it is behind the output of beoutQ.

The Premier League released a joint statement with FIFA, UEFA and other major European leagues in September saying they had been "frustrated in our attempts to pursue a formal copyright claim against beoutQ in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Last month BeIN wrote to Premier League clubs saying "the future economic model of football is at stake" if a Saudi takeover was approved.

Human rights groups have also opposed the proposed £300 million ($368 million) takeoverdeal.

The fiancee of murdered dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi wrote an open letter to Newcastle fans this week asking them to reject a takeover led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Amnesty International have also written to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters warning the competition risked becoming a "patsy" if it did not raise serious questions about the takeover.

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