Football lawyer Nick De Marco has taken aim at Premier League chief executive Richard Masters following his recent comments regarding the Chelsea takeover.
Owner Roman Abramovich hopes to sell the Blues quickly due to sanctions imposed on him by the British government following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Discussing Chelsea’s takeover situation, Masters recently told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit in London: “I think the fastest we’ve ever done is 10 days, but that doesn’t mean that record doesn’t can’t be beaten.Normally this will take a number of weeks, but this will depend on the complexity of the transaction and the number of potential owners.
De Marco, a QC at Blackstone Chambers, acted for Newcastle United after the club’s takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund was first blocked by the Premier League.
And he took issue with Chelsea being allowed to rush into a mega-money sale after Newcastle were forced to wait so long to oust Mike Ashley.
“According to the Premier League, the fastest time for a takeover is 10 days? Well, I can tell you I wish Mr Masters had told us that, and I suspect a lot of Newcastle fans feel the same – because it’s been over a year,” said De Marco. at Sky Sports.
“Of course there were complicated issues in this case (the Newcastle takeover). But the stakes in this case (Chelsea) are even more complicated. However, there is probably a lot more goodwill in this case. Chelsea needs to be sold and it needs to be done quickly, it won’t be done in 10 days.
Masters has drawn criticism from Newcastle fans over the Premier League’s handling of the Saudi takeover. Amanda Staveley helped broker a deal to buy the club from Ashley and simply needed Premier League approval for the takeover to proceed.
However, the group initially pulled out after the league owners and directors test lasted 17 weeks, leaving the deal in shambles. Speaking after the deal was completed, Masters said: “The takeover has taken place and we need to be confident that all the things we do in the Premier League will be preserved under the new owner and that the program of equality and diversity will be preserved.
“You can’t have one rule for one and the other for the other and so Newcastle will be run on the right basis. PIF is an investor in many other businesses in this country and maybe football is targeted and talked about in a different way. I can’t choose who chairs a football club. The owners’ test doesn’t allow us to have an opinion on that.”