Everton have launched an attack on Liverpool City Council after losing a planning appeal that will cost the club £10m.
The Merseyside club had hoped to sell their former Bellefield training ground in West Derby for housing, with the cash going towards their £78m contribution for the proposed new stadium in Kirkby.
The club insist that the Kirkby development – a joint venture with Tesco – will not be affected by the Bellefield site blow, with a club spokesman saying: "We can find that money from other sources."
A separate planning inquiry is currently under way to decide whether the club's new stadium project can go ahead, and it is expected to last another three weeks.
But the Bellefield rejection has reignited the row between Everton and the council over their proposed move outside the city to Kirkby. Liverpool Council do not want to see the club move outside the city boundaries, but lengthy debate over new sites inside the city have failed to produce a solution, and Everton have now opted to move to Kirkby.
Everton insist the cash from the sale of Bellefield was not an integral part of the Kirkby scheme, but the loss of £10m will certainly not help. The club feel the decision is political. Acting chief executive Robert Elstone said: "The truly disappointing aspect of this is that the politicians who run this city went against the recommendations of the council's own planning experts. In such circumstances you have to ask, why is that? What is the point in employing experienced and learned experts if you are simply going to ignore their advice?"