Liverpool FC’s chairman said “we’ve
got the right owners” after a legal ruling that will allow the club to be
sold to the owner of the Boston Red Sox.
Martin Broughton’s triumphant
comment came after he and Liverpool’s creditors, the Royal Bank of Scotland,
had won a high court battle over the club’s current American owners.
Mr Justice Floyd ruled, after
four-and-a-half hours of arguments, that Tom Hicks and George Gillett had been
wrong in their attempt to frustrate the sale of the club.
Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett, who now
face losses of around $222 million, changed the club’s board of directors last
week in a bid to derail the club’s sale to New England Sports Ventures (NESV).
Mr Justice Floyd also rejected
applications by the owners for an injunction to halt the sale negotiations
until they had held further discussions over any sale agreement.
“I am not prepared to grant
any relief. If I did it would risk stopping the sale and purchase agreement
going ahead,” he said.
That means that the provisional $477
million takeover by NESV can now proceed against the owners’ wishes.
A bid by the Singapore billionaire
Peter Lim, valuing the club at $508 million and pledging a further $63 million
for new players, will be ignored.
The completion of the sale to NESV
will end the threat of administration, which would have meant Liverpool being
docked nine Premier League points.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, the
club’s main creditor, had set a deadline of this Friday in its bid to be repaid
more than $365 million.
NESV’s chief John W Henry had
clearly been watching the case closely and wrote on Twitter: “Well done
Martin, Christian & Ian. Well done RBS. Well done supporters!”
Meanwhile, solicitor Keith Oliver,
acting for Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett, said an appeal was not being ruled out.