By Paul Nicholson
August 24 – One step forward, one step back? China’s march into Premier League football club ownership seems to have faltered in the case of Liverpool but looks to be progressing with Hull City.
China’s Everbright Limited has denied that it has tabled an £800 million bid for Liverpool FC, though Insideworldfootball sources in China have not ruled out a bid for the club from the company that has different divisions listed on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.
Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has similarly dismissed that talks have been held. Liverpool chairman Tom Werner said: “We’ve said it before and I’d like to say it again: this club is not for sale.”
Perhaps not, though turning away an £800 million bid for a club that was bought in 2010 for £320 million would be a tough piece of business for any investor to turn down.
Werner told the Liverpool Echo: “At the same time we’ve been clear that we actively pursue commercial opportunities which in turn helps us invest in the squad and win football matches.
“These commercial discussions can be complex and we’ve said in the past, under the right conditions and absolutely with the right partner, we could look at some small investment stake in the club.
“But only in the framework of doing what would be in the club’s long-term best interests. I want to reiterate that the club is not for sale.”
One club that definitely is for sale is Hull City and its progression to new Chinese owners looks to be gathering speed with the formation of a new UK company Rehne Goldenway Sports Management Ltd by Dai Yongge and Dai Xin Li.
The Dais have a property development conglomerate based in Hong Kong and the brother and sister run Chinese development group Rehne Commercial Holdings. They also own Chinese football club Beijing Rehne FC.
Local newspaper the Hull Daily Mail reported that two mortgages relating to Hull City’s training ground in Cottingham and its previous academy base in County Road North, west Hull, were paid off last week. The mortgages were held by the Superstadium Management Company (SMC) and would indicate that the Allam family who are the current owners of the club are tidying up its business in preparation for the sale.
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