The infamous four and a half year ban on beIN Sports, who have paid £400m for the rights to show the Premier League in the Middle East and North Africa, is due to be lifted in Saudi Arabia. The potential takeover of Newcastle United is set to be significally boosted by Saudi Arabia agreeing to settle their privacy war with Premier League broadcast partners beIN Sports.
The lift of the ban means that for the first time in years they’ll be a legal way in watching top sporting events in Saudi Arabia. Their top investor, the Public Investments Fund, were ready to buy Newcastle United for £305m. Saudi Arabia’s bid to buy Newcastle and turn them into a top tier club was stalled last summer over alleged rows of piracy involvement in the country. They officially walked away from the Amanda Staveley brokered deal last summer after it became caught up in legal matters.
It was almost impossible for the Premier League to allow a sale of one of their member clubs to a nation which had allowed games to be broadcast illegally, and banned their official broadcaster. But this was saved bt he Saudis have recently being very complient in removing pirate websites when informed of them by beIN Sports.
Lifting the ban on beIN Sports would open up a potential 40m for customers but there will still be a ruling on whether the Saudi state would become director of Newcastle or not. An arbitration hearing has been set for January 3rd to decide whether the Saudi Public Investments Fund can revive their bid once and for all or not. However it won’t be all smooth sailing as there’s already objections in the way of the bid due to the state involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Sources expect Saudi to quietly lift the ban on subscribing to beIN Sports and their website. The beoutQ piracy operation will be turned off for good. Saudis are ready to settle with the broadcaster in their $1bn arbitration case, making it the first time to watch major live sporting events legally since 2017.
Once the biggest obstacles have been removed, the many toon fans who want to end the current Mike Ashley era hope this triggers progress from early next year.
What are your thoughts?
Fenwicks Announce Ticketed Christmas Programme
Tickets are to go on sale this morning for the hugely popular Santa on the Roof events which are a highlight of the festive season at Fenwick in Newcastle.
The city centre store announced the return of the children’s treat as part of its Christmas programme which, besides the grand unveiling of its annual window display, will include the popular Santa’s Cinema, breakfast and supper clubs with the big man and – new for this year – an afternoon tea event.
Santa on the Roof is an immersive experience which sees elves accompany ticket-holders on a Santa’s Express Elevator ride to the store’s rooftop to meet singing reindeer before they take an ‘elf-mobile’ to meet Santa in his cabin. It will be back this year from November 7 up until Christmas Eve, December 24 and this will go on sale first.
Tickets, costing £17.50, will be available from Thursday, September 29. And families will need to be quick off the mark as they are always quickly snapped up.
Sales of Fenwick’s other seasonal experiences, running November and December, will follow in October. These will include tickets for Santa’s Breakfast Club, Santa’s Supper Club, Santa’s Cinema and the new event, Afternoon Tea with Santa.
This year, Fenwick’s says that all restaurant experiences do not include a visit to Santa on the Roof as part of the experience so this must be purchased separately. And, due to the acticipated high demand, Fenwick ticket provider Ticketsource will be providing a virtual queue to help manage bookings. The advice for keen customers – from the moment they join the queue – is to avoid loading multiple tabs or refreshing their browser.
The Santa on the Roof experience will also offer youngsters a chance to enjoy craft activities with the elves, including decorating a bespoke ceramic plate to take home, and there will a stop-off too at Café Claus for winter-warming drinks and sweet treats along with an opportunity to take an ‘Elfie’ inside Santa’s sleigh, says the store.
Santa’s Cinema, screening festive family films, will be located on the fifth floor of the department store from Thursday, November 10 and will cost £17.50. Adults will be able to choose between a complimentary mulled wine or spiced apple juice and young ones can enjoy hot chocolate or juice plus plenty popcorn.
There also will be a Roof Thirty-Nine Pre-Cinema Experience available for £35 where, before the film screening, guests will be able to take in the view from Fenwick’s roof-top restaurant alongside a cocktail, nibbles and a main course.
This year the festive breakfast and supper club events will take place inside Fenwick’s new Arthur’s Restaurant on the first floor. Santa’s Breakfast Club will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings from Friday, November 9 until Friday, December 23, offering waffles, eggs and sausages. Young guests will receive elf hats and colouring books before meeting the mischievous elves and Santa for a picture and Christmas gift. Tickets will be £20.
Cinemas to screen the Queen’s funeral for free on Monday
Around 150 cinemas across the UK will open on Monday to allow people to watch the Queen’s state funeral for free, while suspending the screening of films, to allow the public to mourn together.
Vue, Curzon and Arc will all screen the funeral proceedings free of charge at select venues from 10am. The funeral will take place at 11am on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey.
Vue has cinemas in Gateshead, Cramlington and Hartlepool and will suspend normal scheduling on the national day of mourning. The chain issued a statement to inform the public that: “Seats will be free of charge and our retail offering on this day will be limited to complimentary bottled water during the broadcast, with no other snacks or drinks available for purchase.”
In addition, they will also screen the London Procession in the majority of their UK venues on Wednesday, 14 September, live from 1.30pm. On this day all other screens will be open showing film content as normal.
Other cinemas across the UK have decided to offer this too, including Arc Cinema, Reel Cinemas, Picturedome and Savoy.
The largest cinema chains, Odeon and Cineworld, will remain closed alongside Picturehouse, Showcase and The Light.
Will you be going to a showing – let us know on our Facebook page and join the conversation –
North East foodbanks to close on Monday as the Queen’s funeral is held
Several foodbanks across the North East will close their warehouses and distribution centres this Bank Holiday Monday, the day the Queen’s funeral is being held.
In the North East, Gateshead Foodbank has announced that it will be closed on Monday to reopen the following day. Sunderland and County Durham Foodbank will also be closed, as well as their foodbank warehouse.
It was announced that the day of the Queen’s funeral would be a bank holiday by King Charles III this weekend, as a national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s funeral will take place at 11am on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey. The public will be able to pay their respects 24 hours a day for four days until 6.30am on Monday, while the Queen lies in state in the Palace of Westminster.
The Trussell Trust work to stop UK hunger and poverty, and their network of foodbanks provides emergency food and support to people in crisis. A spokesperson told the Mirror that food banks across the country were given the option to close or stay open depending on the needs of their community.
They clarified that “foodbanks are all independent, but we have emailed saying it is a bank holiday and they can decide what to do. It really depends on the local need on the ground, the volunteers will know if they are particularly quiet on a Monday, or if it is a busier day.”
The decision to close a number of foodbanks has proved to be controversial, with some slamming the move as classist. What are your thoughts?
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