| 10.2°C Belfast

Liverpool sale agreed in principle

Liverpool's board of directors have agreed the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures, subject to Premier League approval and the resolution of a board dispute.

NESV currently owns a portfolio of companies including the Boston Red Sox baseball team, New England Sports Network, Fenway Sports Group and Rousch Fenway Racing.

The Merseyside club revealed on Tuesday night they had received "two excellent financial offers for the club that would repay all its long-term debt".

Reds chairman Martin Broughton told club website www.liverpoolfc.tv: "I am delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the sale process which has been thorough and extensive.

"The board decided to accept NESV's proposal on the basis that it best met the criteria we set out originally for a suitable new owner. NESV's philosophy is all about winning and they have fully demonstrated that at the Red Sox.

"We've met them in Boston, London and Liverpool over several weeks and I am immensely impressed with what they have achieved and with their vision for Liverpool Football Club."

Broughton added: "By removing the burden of acquisition debt, this offer allows us to focus on investment in the team. I am only disappointed that the owners (Tom Hicks and George Gillett) have tried everything to prevent the deal from happening and that we need to go through legal proceedings in order to complete the sale."

The boardroom battle between American owners Hicks and Gillett and their England-based colleagues escalated to a new level Tuesday night.

With news of two new "excellent" bids having been received, the pair, led primarily by Hicks, tried to effect a coup by removing managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre from their positions on the board minutes before a meeting to discuss the new offers.

It was intended to allow the Americans to regain control of the sale process, allowing them the final say on any offer. However, this was rebuffed as the two club officials, backed by chairman Broughton, out-voted the Americans three to two.