Newcastle announce a new commercial deal as takeover saga rumbles on

Newcastle are pressing ahead with business as usual despite the ongoing uncertainty over the club’s future ownership after signing a new long-term commercial agreement.

With PCP Capital Partners’ largely Saudi-funded takeover attempt still being considered by the Premier League, the Magpies have announced an extended arrangement with primary partner FUN88, an Asian betting company whose name has appeared on the club’s shirts and training kit since 2017.

The announcement comes as increasingly frustrated fans await a decision from league bosses over the Amanda Staveley-brokered £340million offer to finally take Newcastle off current owner Mike Ashley’s hands.

Amanda Staveley is involved in the takeover
Amanda Staveley is involved in the takeover (Owen Humphreys/PA)

That process has been ongoing for more than three months amid debates over alleged TV piracy in the Middle East and political pressure over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

To complicate matters, American businessman Henry Mauriss has registered his own interest in purchasing the Magpies.

Ashley, who is currently in the United States, has been trying to sell the club for much of his time on Tyneside, but has seen several previous attempts fall through and his patience is understood to be running short.

Mike Ashley is trying to sell Newcastle
Mike Ashley is trying to sell Newcastle (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

With the start of the new season likely to be less than two months away, decisions will have to be made soon over spending plans and recruitment, and much of the detail of that will depend on who remains at the helm.

Announcing the new sponsorship deal, managing director Lee Charnley said: “We are delighted FUN88 has renewed its relationship with Newcastle United and committed its support to the club over a number of years to come.”

The news comes a week after MP Carolyn Harris, the chair of the gambling-related harm all-party parliamentary group, said she was confident a new Gambling Act will outlaw shirt sponsorship when it is passed in the autumn or early in the new year.

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