A promising development in the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund backed bid to takeover Newcastle United serves to highlight just how committed their interest in the Premier League club is. The Arab state has taken further measures to combat piracy in the region, which has been a sticking point in passing the Premier League’s prospective owners and directors test.
The piracy of Premier League matches from neighbouring Qatar has been a stumbling block in proceedings but the new measures, which include raising awareness of the value and importance of intellectual properties, enhancing respect and enforcement of intellectual property, are a sign of progress between the two parties.
The World Trade Organisation’s report determined that Saudi Arabia had not done enough to tackle piracy in the Kingdom. These latest steps show how not only has their attitude to the problem has changed, but they are also taking action to rectify the issue.
BeIN Sports were one of the numerous campaigners for the Premier League to block the proposed takeover, writing to the chairmen citing that the pirate network had caused ‘huge damage‘ to their revenues.
Although, instead of blocking the deal, the changes to Saudi Arabian policy suggest that the Premier League has used the takeover as leverage to clean up their act, which may help to explain why negotiations have been so drawn out. Nevertheless, the fact that the Saudi’s have obliged and cracked down on piracy is a strong indication of just how committed they are to taking ownership of St. James’ Park.
In the past, the Premier League has tried on numerous occasions to take legal action against those in Saudi Arabia for pirating games, which has reportedly left the top-flight’s legal team in a precarious position.
However, now action has been taken, firstly with the removal of hundreds of sites found guilty of piracy, as well as further measures to educate and ensure it does not continue to be an issue. Initially, the Premier League were waiting for assurances of just how serious the Kingdom was with regards to fighting the problem.
But it appears with these new measures they have their answer, as do any Newcastle fans who may have questioned the commitment of the Public Investment Fund’s takeover ambitions.