The takeover is, however, controversial, with Saudi Arabia’s television piracy under investigation following allegations by Qatar-based beIN Sports that they illegally broadcast games via a pirate channel called beoutQ.
And after the World Trade Organization ruled that they had violated international broadcasting law, MacNeil, who is a member of the SNP, wrote a letter to trade secretary Liz Truss.
She said, “As you would have seen, the WTO has made a landmark decision on the protection of sports rights, which is one of the UK’s most precious and valuable exports.
“In its decision, the WTO ruled that the government of Saudi Arabia had, from the start, actively … supported the beoutQ hacking operation which stole commercial rights from British sports organizations for three years.
“This is an insult to the British government, an affront to the Premier League and an abuse of UK Sport – and this should not be tolerated.
“This is relevant today, right now, because the very entity that stole leading British sports and entertainment content is trying to buy a large British sports institution – the Newcastle United Football Club.
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“Why is the British government treating Saudi Arabia differently from any other government? The rule of law applies to everyone, I think – including the protection of British sport and British exports. ”
The government initially said it would not participate in the takeover decision and would let the Premier League have the final say on whether or not to approve it, but they are now under increasing pressure to block the decision.