The Government has been urged to “take a role” in scrutinising the proposed Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle by the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on football.

Clive Betts, the Labour MP for Sheffield South East, says the Saudi Arabian state’s alleged involvement in pirate network beoutQ, which has illegally broadcast Premier League matches as well as other sporting events, means the Government must give the proposed £300m deal its attention and not leave it in the hands of the Premier League.

The Saudi public investment fund is a key part of the deal.

“The beoutQ piracy issue should be an immediate priority for regulatory scrutiny surrounding the Newcastle United takeover,” Betts said in a statement.

“While the Premier League needs to seriously look at any potential conflict between the ownership of a football club and the alleged three-year theft of UK media rights by the future owner, the Government should take a role, not sit on the bench.”

It has been reported that the final stage of the takeover is the completion of the Premier League’s owners and directors test, which looks at the suitability of the new owners both in terms of sufficiency of funds but also checks for any criminal or suspected criminal activity.

Qatar-based broadcaster beIN SPORTS, one of the biggest single investors in the Premier League and which holds the rights to screen matches in the Middle East and north Africa, has already written to the league’s chief executive Richard Masters saying that Saudi Arabia’s “direct role in the launch, promotion and operation of the beoutQ service” must be taken into account when the test is conducted.

The chief executive of beIN SPORTS, Yousef Al Obaidly, also wrote to Premier League chairmen to highlight the detrimental impact of beoutQ’s activities on their clubs.

He said: “The legacy of the illegal service will continue to impact you going forward.

“When the Premier League season recommences in the coming months, all of the league’s broadcasters’ content will continue to be readily and illegally available via the IPTV streaming functionality on the beoutQ set-top-boxes which were sold in significant quantities in Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

“Furthermore – given the crippling economic effect that coronavirus is having on the sports industry – this is all happening at a time when football clubs need to protect their broadcast revenue the most.”