Dear Mr Masters,
Transparency and accountability in football – NUFC Arbitration
We hope this letter finds you well.
We’re not expecting a response, however given that you responded to Amnesty International and Hatice Cengiz in relation to a proposed takeover of Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC), we’d hope that you’d find time to respond to the fans. Especially now after your continued and in fact deafening silence over the last 15 months.
This vacuum has led to an industry of rumour, clickbait and guesswork which does not serve the fanbase well. You purport to care about mental health even though you know your continued silence does not help the mental health of fans who just want to know what’s happening, those asking should I renew my season ticket, and those who just find the whole saga draining.
NUFC fans are a diverse and knowledgeable fan base. We’re dreamers and yearn for the days of exciting football to grace St James’ Park once again and we hope that may come as soon as August irrespective of who is in the boardroom or owners’ box.
Another thing about NUFC fans is that we are realists. We understand the need for commercial confidence. We know there are things that we shouldn’t know. We appreciate it. We understand that the same way we understand that investment in a club invariably leads to regional investment, something we know that the prospective owners have indicated a desire to do.
We find it odd that in your discussion with NUFC Trust representatives you agreed the need to be more transparent with fans and yet that transparency hasn’t been forthcoming.
It’s probably worth noting that as well as the support from the North-eastern MPs who have asked for transparency, some of them have written to you, more than once! There were also over 50 MPs outside of the region who demanded transparency and again you have failed to deliver.
Indeed, we hope this letter elicits a response from you that neither Newcastle’s Club Statement, Oliver Dowden’s Twitter message, Amanda Staveley’s interview or the Independent Football Ombudsman’s concerns that Newcastle fans have made a legitimate call for transparency however we’re realists and know where we sit in the football pyramid…
The attempted formation of the European Super League (ESL), and the need for some owners to avoid competition to focus on finances by putting revenue ahead of fans is a dangerous precedent that we collectively as a fanbase, UNITED to stop in its tracks. It’s only a matter of time before that tipping point of fans realise that all decisions relating to their club should be made in a transparent way and call on the government for the creation of a regulator and indeed, we have fed this into the current review led by Tracey Crouch.
Key questions NUFC fans would like answers to (dreamers):
- Will the PL agree to the transparency around arbitration as requested by the club and supported by the prospective owners and the fans?
- Why has this takeover taken longer than any other?
- What is / has been the reason for the delay(s)?
- Have the owners and directors’ tests (ODT) commenced?
- Has there been inconsistency in application in relation to this takeover when compared to others?
- What would happen if Mike Ashley just sold the club, given that the clubs’ forming the ESL weren’t severely punished?
- If the ODT are designed to protect clubs, how can a takeover proceed when it is financed through increasing club debt?
- Are the ODT fit for purpose?
But appreciate you may only be able to answer (realists):
- When does the arbitration hearing take place?
- How long will the arbitration process last?
- When are we likely to hear the outcome of arbitration?
- Will we be made aware of the outcome of the arbitration?
We hope for a response(dreamers), we don’t expect one (realists).