The Saudi-led takeover offer for Newcastle has been withdrawn, with the consortium criticising the “prolonged process” for their decision to walk away.
The Middle East country’s public investment fund (PIF) had been set to take an 80 per cent stake in the Premier League club under the terms of the deal, which was understood to be worth just over £300million.
The proposed deal was criticised by human rights groups, while Saudi Arabia’s links to piracy of sports broadcasting rights were also scrutinised.
The league was warned by human rights group Amnesty International that it “risked becoming a patsy” if it allowed the takeover to go through.
The piracy question has also been a particularly thorny one, with the Premier League itself having repeatedly tried and failed to seek legal redress against illegal broadcaster beoutQ through the Saudi system.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia appealed against a World Trade Organisation report which found that it had facilitated the activities of beoutQ.
Saudi authorities also suspended the broadcasting licence of beIN SPORTS earlier this month, which meant there was no legal means to watch Premier League football in the country until 2022 at the earliest.
It is understood Newcastle owner Mike Ashley received a non-refundable £17m deposit as part of the deal earlier this year.