The Saudi Arabian government has permanently barred the Premier League's official Middle East broadcasters from operating in the country at a time when its public investment fund is targeting a takeover of Newcastle.

An announcement from the Saudi General Authority for Competition (GAC) stated that Qatar-based beIN SPORTS, which is the official Premier League rights holder for the Middle East and North Africa region, has had its licence to broadcast cancelled and has been fined 10 million Saudi riyals (€2.3 million).

It means there will be no legitimate way to watch Premier League football in Saudi Arabia until at least the 2022-23 season, despite Newcastle being the subject of an attempted Saudi takeover: beIN's existing deal runs to the end of the 2021-22 season.

The proposed £300 million buyout remains under consideration by the league.

The GAC stated beIN had "abused its dominant position through several monopolistic practices" which violated competition law in the country.

beIN said in a statement: "The decision is nonsensical on every single level, banning beIN for packaging its rights in the standard way that sports and entertainment broadcasters all around the world do, and indeed as other broadcasters active in the Saudi market also do.

The proposed £300 million buyout of Newcastle remains under consideration by the league

"Moreover, the very idea that permanently banning a leading competitor from a market could in any way promote competition is plainly absurd.

"We would also question - as we have for three years - how Saudi citizens can watch Premier League matches legally in Saudi Arabia with this 'permanent' ban on the Premier League's licensed broadcaster. Or indeed how Saudi citizens can legally watch most major international sport, and how this fits into Saudi Arabia's 2030 Vision."

Last month the World Trade Organisation released a report which said that the Saudi state had facilitated the operations of a pirate broadcasting network, beoutQ, which had illegally broadcast sports that beIN and other companies held the legitimate rights to.

The Premier League itself wrote to the US Trade Representative in February asking for Saudi Arabia to be kept on its watch list because the country "remained a centre for piracy". The league made nine attempts to find legal representation in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ's activities, but was thwarted on each occasion.

The issue comes at a time when the value of broadcasting rights is foremost in the minds of the chief executives and chairmen of all Premier League clubs, with the coronavirus pandemic having decimated matchday and other revenue streams.

Since the release of the WTO report, Saudi Arabia said it had launched a crackdown on piracy.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been involved in a diplomatic conflict since 2017.

The Premier League has been approached for comment.