SBD/Issue 20/Facilities & Venues

Liverpool City Council May Block NESV's Stadium Aspirations

NESV Visited Liverpool To Study Stadium
Options, Including Plans For A New Venue

New England Sports Ventures is "on a collision course" with the Liverpool City Council "over plans to redevelop" Liverpool's Anfield stadium, according to Hunter & Conn of the GUARDIAN. Liverpool Chair Martin Broughton confirmed that NESV "will consider upgrading Anfield" if its offer to buy the EPL club from Tom Hicks and George Gillett "is accepted in the high court next week." A commitment from new ownership to put US$158M toward a "new stadium had previously been a condition of the sale." However, Liverpool City Council member Joe Anderson insisted that a "U-turn on the stadium would be unlikely to gain approval." Anderson: "I would discourage them from redeveloping Anfield and would encourage them to stick to the commitment that is already in place because I think that is the best solution for everyone -- for the club and the city." Sources indicated that the "same planning obstacles that prompted" former Liverpool Chair David Moores and former CEO Rick Parry "to propose relocating across Stanley Park still exist, leaving NESV facing the potentially greater expense of a new build." Hunter & Conn note "considering upgrading Anfield represents a radical departure from the past decade of club and council policy." The city council believes that the policy "has not changed, and with much of the present stadium landlocked in a residential area NESV would have to overcome major obstacles to increase Anfield's capacity to its desired figure of 60,000-plus." NESV members have "paid several visits to Liverpool in recent weeks but, with control of the club not yet sealed, have not reached the negotiating stage with the council" (GUARDIAN, 10/8).

OLYMPIC MOVEMENT: EPL club Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday denied that London's Olympic Stadium "had become their preferred new home, insisting they remained fully committed to building a ground to replace White Hart Lane." Tottenham earlier this month "submitted a late bid to take over" the Olympic Stadium after the '12 Games, "just hours before they received planning permission from Haringey Council to construct a new stadium." That bid was "initially believed to be merely a fall-back option," though AEG, Tottenham's partners in the project, on Tuesday insisted that the proposal "was far more serious than that." The club on Wednesday clarified the situation, saying, "We are aware that coverage of comments made by AEG (has) been interpreted in various ways concerning the club's position in respect of the Northumberland Development Project and the Olympic site." The team added, "We have registered an interest in the Olympic Stadium site in order to keep our options open going forward. This is a very preliminary stage and a pre-qualification questionnaire was completed jointly with AEG in order to meet the deadline for registration" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/7). Meanwhile, West Ham United co-Owner David Gold Thursday said that the EPL club will make Olympic Stadium "the 'most stunning' sports arena in the country" if it secures rights to the venue. Gold indicated that West Ham's bid is "far superior to their north London rivals." While AEG said that it "would not be willing to keep the running track," Gold noted that West Ham "would keep it" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/8).

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