NEWCASTLE UNITED have announced a new long-term commercial deal - but the move is understood to have been in the pipeline for months and should not affect Amanda Staveley's ongoing attempts to complete a takeover at St James' Park.

With PCP Capital Partners' Saudi Arabian-backed takeover attempt still being considered by the Premier League, the Magpies have announced an extended arrangement with primary partner FUN88, an Asian betting company whose name has appeared on the club's shirts and training kit since 2017.

The announcement comes as increasingly frustrated fans await a decision from Premier League bosses over Staveley's proposed £340m offer to finally take Newcastle off current owner Mike Ashley's hands.

Some supporters have expressed fears that this morning's commerical announcement is an announcement that Staveley's takeover attempts are on the verge of collapse.

However, talks over an extension of Newcastle's previous arrangement with FUN88 are understood to have begun before the turn of the year, and today's developments are more of an indication that Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley are having to adopt a 'business as usual' approach until the Premier League deliver their verdict. 

The governing body's owners and directors' test has been ongoing for more than three months amid debates over alleged TV piracy in the Middle East and political pressure over Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

To complicate matters, American businessman Henry Mauriss has registered his own interest in purchasing the Magpies.

Ashley, who is currently in the United States, has been trying to sell the club for much of his time on Tyneside, but has seen several previous attempts fall through and his patience is understood to be running short.

With the start of the new season likely to be less than two months away, decisions will have to be made soon over spending plans and recruitment, and much of the detail of that will depend on who remains at the helm.

Announcing the new sponsorship deal, Charnley said: "We are delighted FUN88 has renewed its relationship with Newcastle United and committed its support to the club over a number of years to come."

The news comes a week after MP Carolyn Harris, the chair of the gambling-related harm all-party parliamentary group, said she was confident a new Gambling Act will outlaw shirt sponsorship when it is passed in the autumn or early in the new year.