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Premier League chairman ‘set to quit’ amid Newcastle takeover backlash

Business heavyweight Gary Hoffman is on the cusp of stepping down as the chairman of the Premier League less than 18 months after he took up the role in June 2020

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Newcastle United: What will the takeover mean?

The chairman of the Premier League is reportedly on the brink of resigning due to the furious response to the takeover of Newcastle United,

Gary Hoffman only took up the non-executive post in June 2020 but he will step down this week due to backlash from clubs, according to Sky News .

It’s claimed executives of top-flight sides feel they were kept in the dark during the lengthy, secretive Newcastle takeover negotiations.

A consortium backed by the vast wealth of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), supported by Amanda Staveley and Jamie Reuben, purchased the club from Mike Ashley for £305million in October.

Some executives have argued the Premier League should have blocked the deal due to the poor human rights record of the Middle Eastern nation.

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Gary Hoffman is reportedly set to step down as Premier League chairman
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Image:

PA)



Concerns over the transparency of talks were dismissed on the grounds of confidentiality obligations.

Opponents to the takeover responded in a meeting of all 20 clubs last month by voting to ban party-related transactions, effectively preventing Newcastle from agreeing lucrative sponsorship deals with brands linked to Saudi Arabia or the PIF.

The Magpies were the only team to vote against the motion and Manchester City, who are owned by members of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, abstained.

Meanwhile, Hoffman’s potential departure comes during a turbulent period for the Premier League and English football as a whole.





Last year, Liverpool and Manchester United pioneered ‘Project Big Picture’ with a view to scrapping the League Cup and Community Shield while reducing the number of teams in the top flight to 18.

In April, the two North-West giants and their fellow ‘Big Six’ clubs were in the spotlight once again when the hugely-unpopular European Super League was unveiled.

They proposed to ring-fence their involvement in an elite breakaway division, but the plans fell apart within a matter of days.

Hoffman played a key role imposing a combined fine of £22million on the Premier League clubs involved.

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Elsewhere, Tracey Crouch MP is expected to publish the findings of a fan-led review into the governance of English football next week.

As such, Hoffman’s successor will inherit a tricky situation alongside chief executive Richard Masters, although the report adds he may yet have a change of heart.

The 61-year-old is a former Barclays executive, chaired Visa Europe and now serves as the chairman for digital bank Monzo.

He is a lifelong fan of Championship side Coventry City and he continues to have the support of certain executives of Premier League clubs.


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