High Court delay for Reds
A High Court decision regarding the battle for power at Liverpool is expected on Wednesday morning.
Last Updated: 13/10/10 11:00am
A High Court decision regarding the battle for power at Liverpool is expected at 10.30am on Wednesday as the dispute over the Anfield ownership draws towards a conclusion.
Current co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett attempted to block the proposed sale of the Reds to New England Sports Ventures (NESV), who have seen their £300million offer accepted by the club's board.
Hicks and Gillett's lawyers are also arguing against a Friday deadline set by RBS, the club's major creditor, for a debt of £237m.
Richard Snowden QC, representing RBS, told Mr Justice Floyd earlier on Tuesday that Hicks and Gillett admitted "a calculated breach of contract" by seeking to change the constitution of the companies and the boards involved without the consent of the bank.
He said this was in order "to frustrate the sale necessary to repay the bank £200m by this Friday".
The bank secured an injunction on Friday to prevent the Americans sacking independent chairman Martin Broughton or any other board members.
Mr Snowden said Hicks filed evidence that if RBS did not like what he was doing, then it could enforce its security rights.
"This would derail the carefully planned process designed to achieve a sale of the club in a timely manner."
He said that plan would not carry the risk of Liverpool losing the nine points deducted by the Premier League when a team goes into administration.
The judge was asked to impose injunctions on the owners requiring them to restore the original constitutions of the companies and managing directors.
This would remove the final stumbling block to a £300m takeover by NESV, who own the Boston Red Sox and are fronted by John W Henry, which will see the RBS recoup its original £237m loan to Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett when they bought the club in March 2007.
Mr Snowden said evidence filed to the court showed "breathtaking arrogance on the part of Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett".
Both admitted their actions were a breach of contact, and Hicks apparently took it upon himself to think RBS "would not be prejudiced because it would not make the position any worse".
Paul Girolami QC, representing the American owners, said his clients "were not trying to throw a spanner in the works" of the proposed sale deal.
He said there had been other offers for the club which potentially were better than the one from NESV, with Singapore businessman Peter Lim tabling a renewed bid as court proceedings were under way.
Opposing an immediate injunction, he said all the issues involved needed more time to determine and "should not be rushed into".
"What has happened is that the English directors have gone forward with the NESV bid without properly considering alternatives when those alternatives at least appear to give better prospects."