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Volume 10 No. 25


Liverpool FC's U.S. owners "will end the club's 10-year stadium saga" by committing to develop Anfield as a refurbished 60,000-capacity venue, including 7,000 corporate seats, according to Harris & Miller of the London DAILY MAIL. The club has said publicly that "no final decision" has been made between refurbishment and a new stadium, but detailed plans "are in place" for a phased expansion of the Main Stand and then the Anfield Road stand. The work is expected to cost about £150M ($244M), a huge saving on the estimated £400M ($649M) that a new stadium in Stanley Park would cost. However, an estimated £50M ($81M) has been spent by the club on designs and planning for a new stadium. Naming rights "might have helped to subsidise a new venue," but no suitable deal has been found. The council believes that "official confirmation on the refurbishment is imminent" from Owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group. A council spokesperson said: "It does seem to be the case that the club have decided to stay at Anfield and that Liverpool officials are preparing to confirm the decision" (DAILY MAIL, 9/23).

FC Barcelona VP of Finance Xavier Fraus revealed that any decision on the future of the Camp Nou stadium "will come during the '14-15 season at the earliest," according to AS. Fraus explained that the remodeling of the Camp Nou would cost €300M ($389.7M) and a completely new stadium, around €600M ($779M). He also said that the club will not start any construction until its debt is less than €200M ($259.8M). The club's debt currently stands at €334M ($433.9M). Fraus: "Until we get the debt to under €200M, we won't do anything." He added: "American and English consultancies, as well as Catalan engineers, have been tasked with doing studies to analyze the viability of both options, and that's what's going to happen in these two years" (AS, 9/22).

La Liga Valencia President Manuel Llorente "sought to reassure fans of the cash-strapped" team on Friday after problems emerged in the financing plan for the project to build a new stadium, according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. In early '08, the club was forced to stop construction of the "Nueva Mestalla," but late last year, it reached an agreement with Spanish lender Bankia that "appeared to put the project back on track." Llorente said club officials were "working with Bankia to seek solutions" and the goal remained "to complete the new stadium". Valencia are "one of many Spanish clubs to have suffered severe financial difficulties in recent years as they try to remain competitive on the pitch while struggling to pay soaring wages and transfer fees." The club had piled debts of more than €500M ($649.5M) before being bailed out by the regional government who "agreed to guarantee a loan" of  €74M in Aug. '09 (REUTERS, 9/22).