Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Court date crucial to Reds future

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The High Court case that will determine the future ownership of Liverpool is expected to start on Tuesday.

The proposed takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV) moved a significant step closer on Friday after they passed Premier League rules on owners and directors.

Court action by current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett next week still stands in the way of the £300million deal going through and NESV, owners of the Boston Red Sox, taking control of Liverpool. Hicks and Gillett are claiming the board should have acted in the interests of the shareholders - themselves - instead of agreeing to the offer from NESV.

The Premier League's announcement is more progress for NESV however and although the American company still need to supply full details about proof of funds, they are closing in on securing the club.

The league said in a statement: "The Premier League has met with the owners and directors of New England Sports Ventures (NESV) regarding their proposed takeover of Liverpool FC and has received details, in accordance with Premier League rules, of the proposed company and ownership structure as well as the make-up of the new board.

"The Premier League is satisfied, with the information provided, that the individuals NESV intend to put in place in the event they complete their takeover of Liverpool FC meet the criteria set out in our owners' and directors' test.

"The board of the Premier League will continue working with Liverpool FC in regard to this process, however, we are aware that the formal completion of this takeover is yet to be resolved and it is therefore inappropriate for us to offer any further comment at this time."

If the takeover is not completed by next Friday then the Royal Bank of Scotland could put Kop Holdings, the company owned by Hicks and Gillett, into administration over their unpaid £280m debt.

If that happens, Liverpool would be at risk of a nine-point deduction. Initially it had been thought the Premier League would not penalise the club for Kop Holdings becoming insolvent, but now the threat of a points deduction has become a serious one.

Under Premier League rules, the fact that the holding company is solely concerned with the ownership of Liverpool and football-related matters could trigger the nine-point penalty.

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