A local MP has refused to rule out the possibility of North Korea buying a Premier League team.

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire and sports minister, was presented with the hypothetical scenario as members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee discussed the recent Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United.

The Premier League’s decision to sanction the £305million Newcastle deal last month was met with jubilation by many fans of the club but drew strong criticism from human rights groups.

The league said it had received legally-binding assurances that the Saudi state would not have direct control of the club despite Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman being the chair of the Public Investment Fund which now owns an 80 per cent stake in the club.

When asked about the Saudi takeover, Mr Huddleston said: “We have got to be very careful here about the role of Government.

“Government doesn’t have a say in acquisitions of private sector entities unless there are legal concerns. In the case of Newcastle it was right for the football authorities to follow their appropriate processes, including the owners’ and directors’ test, which they did do.

“In terms of the elements of that test and what it includes, that is a live debate at the moment. I’m sure Tracey (Crouch) will be making recommendations on that as well. I do know this was a heated debate. I’m well aware of the issues on both sides.”

Chair of the committee, Julian Knight, asked Mr Huddleston what his response would be if North Korea attempted to buy a Premier League club.

The MP responded: “I would want there to be a process. First of all there are broad legal aspects about who can invest in the UK and what we can invest in overseas.

“So there’s always a legal element to this in terms of international acquisitions and trade anyway, which is important and does already exist and we need to follow that.

“But then on top of that, when it comes to sports, the governing bodies and institutions and within the regulatory framework within have their own tests which I expect to be applied and applied rigorously.”