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Foreign owners to appear before Parliament
Wednesday, 18 June 2008

LONDON (AP) - Liverpool’s feuding American owners have been invited to appear before a British parliamentary inquiry.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., along with Manchester City’s Thaksin Shinawatra, have been asked to appear before the All Party Parliamentary Football Group. The British lawmakers are investigating problems involving how English Premier League teams are being run, particularly fans’ concerns over foreign owners and their increasing influence.

Hicks and Gillett could use one of the hearings in the fall to air their grievances with each other since taking over Liverpool last year.

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina echoed fans’ concerns Tuesday about the club’s financial situation, including substantial debts.

“Things aren’t especially good (economically),” Reina said at Spain’s training camp at the European Championship. “You hope that everything comes into order (off the field), but there is little to say since we can do little.”

Accounts released earlier this month showed that the American owners, who gained control of Liverpool in March 2007, had net losses of $67 million by July 31, 2007. The team’s chief executive Rick Parry, whose resignation was demanded by Hicks in defiance of Gillett, also was invited to testify.

Alan Keen, the inquiry’s chairman, is concerned that the feud has overshadowed the team on the field.

Thaksin had a smooth first year in charge at Manchester City until removing manager Sven-Goran Eriksson earlier this month in what he admitted was a “ruthless” action after only one season. The club finished ninth in the League.

Thaksin, who was accused of human rights abuses before being ousted as Thai prime minister, would be subjected to questions relating to the Premier League’s “fit and proper person” stipulation.

While Hicks, Gillett and Thaksin have been the source of fans’ fury, Aston Villa fans have embraced Randy Lerner, who also owns the Cleveland Browns and has been invited to tell his success story.

The 13 legislators and peers also want Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho to discuss his relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Mourinho left Chelsea last September after his relationship with the Russian billionaire deteriorated.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have also received invitations.

AP Sports Writer Paul Logothetis contributed to this report from Neustift, Austria. (Reporting by Rob Harris)


The National Staff

Last Updated: August 09. 2008 11:37PM UAE / August 9. 2008 7:37PM GMT DUBAI // Dubai International Capital (DIC) have made it clear they still want to buy Liverpool, as the club’s ownership battle threatens to flare up again over the proposed transfer of Gareth Barry.

Manager Rafa Benitez is reported to be at loggerheads with Liverpool’s American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett after it emerged the duo had turned down an offer of a £12million (Dh84.6m) interest-free loan to help to buy Aston Villa midfield player Barry, 27.

Benitez had waited all week for money to be put in place to allow him to end the Barry saga before he sells any more players to fund the deal. But the US owners’ failure to produce the promised short-term loan may mean the £18m transfer deal could soon be dead.

The debacle might play straight in to the hands of long-term suitors DIC who have let it be known they are still waiting in the wings with their own proposals for the club.

The investment group had a £400m offer for the Merseyside club turned down in March and a source close to DIC said: “Just because it is has been a quiet summer does not mean DIC have lost interest. They are happy that things have now become low key, and they are awaiting developments.”

There is also speculation a former prospective buyer, and several rich US-based fans, are ready to help the club out of their cash problems.

Observers believe plans for the new stadium have, as yet, not included confirmed building contracts or the lease being agreed with the local council. The club’s owners are also going to have to find cash soon to fund the stadium as well as re-finance the current loans.

But the delay over the Barry deal is beginning to embarrass Liverpool. As soon as it was suggested the owners were looking to borrow money to fund the deal, City sources – admittedly close to the DIC bid – insisted borrowing would be difficult in the current climate.

* Agencies


Foreign ownership of Premier League clubs
06 September 2008

An Abu Dhabi-based company bought out Manchester City from former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra signed a memorandum of understanding with the Premier League club on Monday.

The deal was struck late on Sunday between Thaksin and the Abu Dhabi group. Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment board member Sulaiman al-Fahim said Thaksin would continue at the club as an a honorary board member.

Here are some other Premier League clubs who now have foreign owners.

* ASTON VILLA - American billionaire Randy Lerner completed his takeover of Aston Villa in September 2006 for 62.6 million pounds ($122.5 million) after securing the required 90 percent of the Birmingham club's shares.

-- The Cleveland Browns owner installed himself as chairman of Villa, taking the place of Doug Ellis who stepped down after 38 years at the Midlands side.

* CHELSEA - In July 2003 Russian businessman Roman Abramovich agreed to buy the company that owned Chelsea in a deal which valued it at nearly 60 million pounds ($99.50 million).

-- Under the cash offer, Abramovich, through his English offer vehicle Chelsea Ltd, agreed to purchase 84.9 million Chelsea Village shares at 35 pence each, just over half of its entire issued share capital.

-- Abramovich has spent millions on the club since 2003 and has been rewarded with Chelsea winning successive Premier League titles and domestic cups.

* FULHAM - In 1997 Egyptian-born businessman Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of top London department store Harrods, invested 30 million pounds ($49 million) in Fulham and took over as chairman after agreeing to acquire a controlling stake.

-- With his financial backing Fulham repurchased the freehold to their Craven Cottage stadium on the banks of the river Thames in west London for an estimated 7.5 million pounds, while on the pitch they were promoted to the top-flight in 2001.

* LIVERPOOL - The 2005 European champions, seeking an injection of cash for two years to help challenge for top honours and fund a new stadium, agreed in 2006 to be taken over by U.S. sports tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks for 174 million pounds ($340 million).

-- The 18-times English league champions had been in talks with Dubai International Capital (DIC), but DIC dropped its bid plans when Liverpool asked for more time to consider a rival offer from Gillett. In March 2008 takeover talks involving Tom Hicks and Dubai International Capital (DIC) were terminated in March amid disagreement over who should be running the club.

-- DIC, which made a 400 million pounds ($807.6 million) bid for the Merseyside club, said it was "in advanced discussions" with Liverpool's co-owners although no agreement had been reached on price or shareholding percentage.

* MANCHESTER CITY - In July 2007 former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was hailed as an unlikely saviour when he bought the club for 81 million pounds ($146.3 million).

-- New managers Kevin Keegan and Sven-Goran Eriksson, both tried to restore the clubs fortunes, but failed. Eriksson joined the City scrapheap in June 2008 after just a season in charge. Mark Hughes was named new manager on June 4.

-- Prospective new owners, Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, said on Monday they wanted to make Manchester City the biggest club in the Premier League.

* MANCHESTER UNITED - In August 2005, supporters were unhappy with the American tycoon, Malcolm Glazer's 790 million pounds ($1.41 billion) takeover and used the first home game where his sons Joel, Avi and Bryan, all board members, were in attendance, to make their voices heard.

-- U.S. financier Malcolm Glazer said he had raised his stake in Manchester United to over 75 percent, finally gaining full control in May 2005 of the club he had battled to acquire for more than two years.

* PORTSMOUTH - Alexandre Gaydamak acquired full control of Portsmouth in July 2006 after he bought the remaining stake from chairman Milan Mandaric.

-- Media reports suggested that Mandaric had sold his remaining shares to Gaydamak, a Russian-born French national, for about 32 million pounds ($58.46 million).

-- Gaydamak's initial investment for a 50 percent stake in the club had been reported at 15 million pounds.

-- Mandaric injected new life into Portsmouth after taking over the club in 1998, winning promotion from the second division in 2003. He has stayed on as a non-executive chairman.

* WEST HAM - In November 2006 West Ham United agreed an 85 million pounds ($161.3 million) takeover from a consortium led by Iceland Football Association president and UEFA member Eggert Magnusson.

-- Magnusson replaced Terry Brown as West Ham chairman. In Dec. 2007 Icelandic majority owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson became chairman after he bought his compatriot's five per cent stake and invested a further 30.5 million pounds ($62.31 million) into the company.

Exclusive: DIC consortium preparing new bids for Liverpool and West Ham

By James Nursey 13/09/2008

Liverpool and West Ham are braced for takeover bids this month from DIC after the Dubai consortium appointed hot-shot British businessman Robin Binks to clinch a deal.

Dubai Investment Capital, the private equity fund of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are determined to own a Premier League club - particularly after the £200million takeover of Manchester City by Abu Dhabi United Group.

Dic, advised by London investment firm PCP, have set-up 'PCP-DIC Seven Ltd' to complete a buy-out.

Binks' first target is Liverpool but they have also since sounded out the Hammers.


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