The Premier League has insisted it has not rejected the Saudi Arabia-backed bid for Newcastle.
In the latest twist in a saga which has rumbled on for months, the governing body has hit back after the club issued a statement on Wednesday evening.
The Premier League’s response said: “The Premier League was disappointed and surprised by the Newcastle United Football Club statement regarding its potential takeover by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).
“The club’s assertion that the Premier League has rejected the takeover is incorrect.
“The Premier League Board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition. That opinion is based on legal advice.
“This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information. They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board. As an alternative, the Board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June.
“It is also incorrect to suggest these decisions were taken by any individual; they were agreed unanimously by all Premier League Board members.”
Amanda Staveley’s consortium, which comprises PCP Capital Partners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Reuben Brothers, agreed a £340m deal with Newcastle’s owner, Mike Ashley, and paid a £17m deposit in April.
However, they withdrew their offer on 30 July with the Premier League still conducting its owners’ and directors’ test and awaiting answers on the relationship between the PIF bid and the Saudi state and TV piracy.
A furious Ashley has attempted to resurrect the deal and clear the obstacles that blocked its path, with the prospective buyers having not closed the door fully.
But on Wednesday Newcastle published a statement in which they claimed the league had rejected the bid and accused its chief executive, Richard Masters, of not acting “appropriately”.