Saudi Arabia has appealed against a landmark piracy ruling.

Last month, the World Trade Organisation issued a report which found representatives of the Saudi state had facilitated the activity of the pirate network beoutQ, which illegally broadcast a host of sporting events including Premier League matches.

Saudi Arabia initially claimed the WTO's ruling was a vindication, but the WTO has now confirmed receipt of an appeal against it.

The state-owned Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is chaired by de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had led a consortium seeking an 80% stake in Newcastle before announcing its withdrawal today.

The consortium blamed the "prolonged process" of Premier League approval and "global uncertainty" due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, whose board had been deliberating the suitability of the takeover under the league's owners' and directors' test, was asked about the piracy ruling when he appeared before MPs last month.

He told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee: "What the Premier League wants to do off the back of the WTO report and our own efforts and the efforts of other sports is for Saudi Arabia to respond positively to the situation and to allow sports rights holders to protect their rights."

The league had sought repeatedly to take action against beoutQ through the Saudi courts but could not find anyone who would take the case on.

In February it asked the United States Trade Representative to keep Saudi Arabia on a piracy watch list.

The WTO ruled Saudi Arabia must bring in measures to conform with international law around intellectual property.

The news of the Saudi appeal comes less than a month after the country permanently revoked Qatar-based beIN SPORTS' licence to broadcast in the country.

That decision means that there is no legal means to watch Premier League football in Saudi Arabia until at least 2022.