(WFI) Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson today said he was “delighted” the board had agreed the sale of the club to John Henry’s New England Sports Ventures.
The owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team have had a £300m takeover bid accepted. But current US owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are resisting the sale and are set to fight it out in the High Court next week in a last-ditch attempt to retain control of the club.
Hodgson, who has been told his job is safe by club chairman Martin Broughton and the prospective new owners, told Liverpool’s website: “It’s very positive and of course I’m delighted.
“It’s been going on a long time and I know how hard the board have worked to set things up.
“I know it’s not easy for them because the owners have other ideas in terms of the sale of the club and what is achievable.
“But I was delighted to hear the news and have it confirmed that it looks like it is going to go through.”
With Liverpool stuck in the Premier League’s relegation zone, Hodgson is looking forward to having money to spend on players to strengthen the squad and improve the Reds’ fortunes on the pitch.
“We know what we’ve got to do, we know we need some new players, we know we need investment, and we know we are weak in certain areas of the team – these things have been the case since I arrived at the club and we haven’t had chance to put things right,” he told the club’s website.
“What I ask of the fans is their patience, their trust and their belief, because we will get it right – there are no doubts about that.
“The club will be in a pretty healthy situation in general terms if the sale goes through.”
NESV issued a statement yesterday about its objectives for Liverpool that will encourage Hodgson and reassure fans that investment in players is on the way.
“NESV wants to create a long-term financially solid foundation for Liverpool FC and is dedicated to ensuring that the club has the resources to build for the future, including the removal of all acquisition debt.,” the NESV statement said.
“Our objective is to stabilise the club and ultimately return Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successfully competing for and winning trophies.
“NESV wants to help bring back the culture of winning to Liverpool FC.
“We have a proven track record, shown clearly with the Boston Red Sox. The team has won two World Series Championships over the past six years. We will bring the same kind of openness, passion, dedication and professionalism to Liverpool FC.”
The sale to NESV is subject to Premier League approval and resolution of the boardroom legal dispute.
In a statement on Wednesday, the EPL said the board of the Premier League had been kept fully informed of developments regarding the club’s potential sale.
“We can confirm that Liverpool FC has formally notified the Premier League of an intended change of control and that the board has undertaken to complete all the necessary processes by Friday 8th October so that the sale of the club can proceed,” the statement said.
repay or refinance about £280m in loans to Royal Bank of Scotland by Oct. 15. Hicks and Gillett value the club at £600m and are opposed to a sale which would lose them about £140m.
RBS could yet be forced to put Liverpool into administration. Under that scenario, NESV would then have another possibility to purchase the club.
Sheikh Mansour tops football rich list
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan returns to the top spot in FourFourTwo magazine’s annual Football Rich List. Last year, he dropped behind Queens Park Rangers stakeholder Lakshmi Mittal.
Sheikh Mansour’s wealth is estimated to have risen £3 billion to a total of £20bn.
Uzbek-Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov (£8bn) is ranked third, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (£7.4bn) in fourth place.
The Glazer family, who seem determined to hang on to Manchester United, are in ninth (£1.53bn).
There’s no disputing who is number one in terms of the richest players.
LA Galaxy star David Beckham is the highest ranking active player, with an estimated wealth of £100 million.
Former England star Michael Owen is the second richest player on the list still but his wealth is 40% of Beckham’s. Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, £34m), Sol Campbell (Newcastle United, £31m) and Ryan Giggs (Manchester United, £27m) complete the top five.
The trial of four men involved in European football’s biggest match-fixing scandal is now under way in the German city of Bochum.
The men are charged with fixing a total of 32 games in Germany’s second division and other European leagues. They are accused of paying 370,000 euros ($512,000) in bribes to football players and referees and betting on the outcome of matches and other incidents, according to the DPA German news agency.
They picked up winnings from these matches amounting to about 1.6 million euros.
The four are charged with 38 counts of fraud.
All of them come from German cities, and one is a former professional footballer, Christian S, who once played for second division side FC Schweinfurt 05.
The trial is expected to continue until the end of the month.
Chinese match-fixing scandal
Xie Yalong, the former vice president of the Chinese Football Association, is under investigation for his role in the country’s widening match-fixing scandal.
He has been arrested for bribery along with former national team coach Wei Shaohui and Li Dongsheng, former head of the CFA’s referee commission.
Reports from China confirmed that three referees have also been indicted for taking bribes and manipulating matches.
In the past year, a number of players and officials have been caught up in the match-fixing scandal that has rocked Chinese football.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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