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Newcastle takeover: More than 70,000 fans sign online petition

Newcastle ended their Premier League campaign in 13th place


An online petition calling for an independent investigation into the Premier League's handling of the attempted Newcastle United takeover process has been signed by more than 73,000 people.

A £300m deal backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) collapsed last week.

The consortium is understood to have run out of patience after almost four months of waiting as the bid was scrutinised under the Premier League's owners' and directors' test.

BBC Sport learned that the Premier League was seeking more answers about who would have ultimate responsibility for the club.

PIF's chairman Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also the effective leader of Saudi Arabia.

The country has faced accusations, which it denies, relating to its human rights record and its handling of TV piracy claims.

Those accusations led to a hugely complicated takeover process which has left fans seeking clarity about what happened.

Last week Greg Tomlinson of the Newcastle United Supporters' Trust told BBC Sport: "Answers are needed from the Premier League."

Owner Mike Ashley is said to be still "100% committed" to the Saudi deal, according to managing director Lee Charnley.

PIF were set to invest 80% of the money, with a further 10% each provided by consortium leader Amanda Staveley and property owners the Reuben Brothers.

On Monday, the Reuben brothers were said to "remain totally supportive of the deal should there be a way forward", according to Martin Cruddace, chief executive of the Reuben Brothers-owned Arena Racing Company.

Cruddace added: "We would welcome any resurrection of talks and progress with the Premier League.

"As owners of Gosforth Park and Newcastle racecourse, Arena Racing Company is very disappointed to learn that the bid to takeover Newcastle Football Club has been withdrawn.

"Given our shareholders - the Reuben brothers - were to be an integral part of the deal, we had many plans for our venues and sport in the north east."

-- Courtesy of BBC Sport

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