The Newcastle United takeover could be back on after Saudi Arabia indicated it would lift its ban on broadcaster beIN SPORTS.

The Qatari network has been unable to broadcast in Saudi Arabia for the last four-and-a-half years as part of a diplomatic dispute but the ban is set to come to an end, the PA news agency understands.

The broadcaster is also understood to have been approached by Saudi Arabia to settle its one billion dollar (almost £736million) arbitration case.

Read more: NUFC takeover: Newcastle United Saudi deal could be announced TODAY

The move appears to remove some of the final hurdles for a Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle, and it is hoped the takeover could be completed today.

But what do we know about the consortium who agreed a £300 million deal buy the club from Mike Ashley in April 2020?

Who are Newcastle United’s prospective buyers?

The consortium is fronted by British businesswoman Amanda Staveley.

The Northern Echo: Amanda Staveley. Credit: Brian Farmer/PAAmanda Staveley. Credit: Brian Farmer/PA

Born in Yorkshire, Staveley is known for her connections with Middle Eastern investors.

Her firm, PCP Capital Partners, acted for Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family, and was involved in his purchase of Manchester City in 2008.

The firm is joined by Reuben Brothers and Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia(PIF) in the consortium.

It is expected that the proposed move would see PIF own 80 per cent of the club, while PCP Partners and Reuben Brothers would each own ten per cent.

Why has the Newcastle United takeover taken so long?

A £300 million deal was agreed between the consortium and Mike Ashley in April 2020.

However, the consortium withdrew after the Premier League identified the Saudi stake as a director with control over the club, which would have made it subject to the league’s owners’ and directors’ test as part of the takeover process.

As things stand, the club and the Premier League are set to enter arbitration over the takeover, with a separate competition law hearing confirming last week that the arbitration hearing would start on January 3.

The Northern Echo:

There were also issues with beIN Sports, the legitimate Premier League rights holder in the Middle East and North Africa region.

They signed a new three-year deal last December understood to be on the same terms as the last agreement – around 500m US dollars (almost £368million).

However, the Qatari network has been unable to broadcast in Saudi Arabia due to a diplomatic dispute.

The Competition Appeals Tribunal heard last week the league had been “improperly influenced” by beIN and rival Premier League clubs in its consideration of the takeover.

Daniel Jowell QC, acting for St James Holdings Ltd, said the broadcaster and the clubs’ “active lobbying” of the league “distorted the Premier League’s fair and objective application of the rules”.

With Saudi Arabia expected to lift its ban on the broadcaster, a significant hurdle in the deal being completed also looks set to be removed.

What has Amanda Staveley said?

Staveley reaffirmed her commitment to the takeover in the summer.

“We want to have good relations with the Premier League,” she explained, in an interview on talkSport. “We are trying to become part of the their institution.

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“We are huge fans of football at all levels. Grassroots football is very important – all football we are fans of.

“We’re very supportive of Mike and we are hoping we can be supportive of the Premier League. We would never have backed a Super League plan.

“I am hoping in the future, there’s a way forward. I don’t want to draw battle lines – I just want say, ‘Look, this process is going on and we want to become an investor in the club’.

“We would like the Premier League to run the arbitration process in public. Mike would like the same. Every question that anybody might have about how committed we were, what we want to do, can be answered.

“I think it’s also an opportunity for the Premier League to take a view that they welcome the transparency as well. It’s easier then, if there was any criticism post the process, everybody can say it was run with full transparency.”