The Guardian

GUARDIAN – Liverpool in clear for Champions League over financial fair play rules

• Clubs out of Europe this season will not have to break even• Only 237 clubs who took part are being assessed by UefaLiverpool and other clubs such as Monaco who are not playing in Europe this season will not have to pass Uefa’s break-even rule in order to take part in the next Champions League campaign, it has been confirmed. Only the 237 clubs who took part in this season’s Champions League and Europa League are currently being assessed.Uefa has revealed 76 of these are being investigated and face sanctions this summer – including possible disqualification from next season’s competitions – if they fail to comply with financial fair play.Clubs such as Liverpool and Monaco who have not been in Europe face no threat of sanctions this summer for failing to break even. They would be assessed next autumn – along with all the other clubs in Uefa competitions next season – with any sanctions applicable in 2015.Liverpool this week announced losses of £49.8m up to the end of May 2013, and a further £40.5m over the previous 10 months leading to some concern over whether the club would comply with Uefa’s FFP rules.A Uefa spokesman confirmed to Press Association Sport that clubs not involved in Europe this season will not be assessed until next season.Liverpool remain hopeful that they will comply despite their losses. The club may be able to write off a loan made by their owners Fenway Sports Group to repay a £38m loan taken out to develop stadium plans by the former proprietors Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The autumn financial review by Uefa will look at clubs’ finances over the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, plus an estimate of the position over the two years to come.That means the impact of the new bumper Premier League TV deal would be reflected in the English clubs’ accounts.Manchester City, who have lost £149m in the past two seasons, have the most to fear among Premier League clubs, while on the continent Paris Saint-Germain are also in the spotlight.LiverpoolMonacoFinancial fair playFinancesUefaBusinesstheguardian.com 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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GUARDIAN – Liverpool owner John W Henry says finance is in place for Anfield revamp

• ‘No repeat of Tom Hicks and George Gillett stadium saga’• Plans to be submitted after council buys properties near groundJohn W Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner, has said there will be no repeat of the stalled stadium projects of Tom Hicks and George Gillett because Fenway Sports Group has the financial backing to redevelop Anfield.Liverpool announced last October that plans for a new stadium on Stanley Park had been scrapped in favour of refurbishing the club’s historic home into a 60,000-capacity stadium, costing approximately £154m. Henry insists “good progress” has been made by Liverpool city council in purchasing the few remaining privately owned properties around Anfield, although a planning application will be submitted only once those deals are complete.Tom Werner, the Liverpool chairman, held further talks with council officials during a visit to Merseyside last week and the club hope a breakthrough is close in the long-running, controversial stadium saga. FSG’s predecessors, Hicks and Gillett, prolonged the delay during their near-ruinous tenure by scrapping stadium designs and then failing to secure funding for their preferred project. But Henry insists the finances are in place for FSG to redevelop Anfield, believed to be via the club’s own banking facilities, and there will be no detrimental effect on Brendan Rodgers’s transfer budget once work begins.Henry said: “They [Hicks and Gillett] were talking about going out and borrowing an enormous amount of money for an enormous facility. That’s not what we are doing here. One of their problems is that they weren’t able to get financing.”When this [project] happens, that won’t be the problem. We just need certainty with regard to these properties. The number of properties is being reduced. The city council is doing everything they can and that’s all we can ask. Not just the city council but Your Housing [a social housing developer] and everyone associated with this are all on the same page. The regeneration as well; we’re all on the same page.”No plans have been unveiled for the refurbished Anfield, although it is understood to involve a new main stand and Anfield Road end being built behind the existing structures to minimise the impact on revenue. Asked if the work would have an effect on team rebuilding, Henry responded: “No, because it will pay for itself. It’s actually a positive. It’s one of the reasons we are doing it. It still provides excess cash. This is the direction that makes financial sense for the club in the long term.” Liverpool initially hoped to apply for planning permission this spring but a handful of home owners have not agreed a deal with the city council and Your Housing.”That’s why we are where we are,” confirmed Henry. Compulsory purchase orders remain an option, should the impasse continue, but legal disputes would add to the stadium delay and FSG want a resolution soon.”We are making good progress,” added Henry. “We have a lot of different groups working very well together and having everybody on the same page is the key to a big project like this happening and pretty much everyone is on the same page. The obstacles are not completely out of the way but we seem to be moving in that direction. The obstacles are being overcome. We don’t have all the houses but we are making progress.”Liverpool’s principal owner insisted he could not place a timeframe on a planning application for Anfield. He said: “We’ve always said you have to have certainty with regards to the properties because of the height of the stands and all the issues regarding that. That has been the biggest issue. We need certainty on that.”LiverpoolJohn W HenryFenway Sports GroupBrendan RodgersAndy Huntertheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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GUARDIAN – Would you stop attending football matches because of rising ticket prices?

Open thread: fans are marching to the Premier League headquarters in protest, but would you vacate your seat?A group of football supporters led by the Spirit of Shankly fangroup are marching to the Premier League headquarters in London on Wednesday afternoon to protest about the rising price of matchday tickets. These fans are walking from Regents Park to Gloucester Place at 2pm as they believe that attending football matches is too important an experience to give up.Bill Shankly’s quote about the game being “much more important” than life and death seems more appropriate than ever. The fans are marching in Shankly’s name, but his wit is being used against them by clubs, who know that there is no substitute for the experience of attending a game. Clubs can raise prices precisely because the game is so important to the people who turn up to watch it every weekend. In the last few seasons supporters from various clubs have petitioned for lower prices. The fans who are marching today have called for a cap of £20 to be placed on away seats, but are they likely to achieve this goal? Will you be joining the march, do you agree with these fans or do you think supporters need to go further to force clubs to lower prices?Would you give up on attending football due to the rise in costs?Premier LeagueLiverpoolFinancesPaul Campbellguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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GUARDIAN – Liverpool hopeful of signing Philippe Coutinho from Internazionale

• Italian side rejects intial £8m valuation for 20-year-old• Improved offer from Anfield club should secure BrazilianLiverpool hope to agree the transfer of Philippe Coutinho on Wednesday despite the midfielder’s claim that he wants to stay and fight for his place at Internazionale.The Anfield club had a bid of around £8m rejected for the 20-year-old Brazilian last week but negotiations have continued and Liverpool are confident an improved offer will be acceptable.Coutinho signed for Inter from Vasco da Gama as a 16-year-old, though he remained with the Brazilian club until he was 18, and is regarded as one of the most promising young players in Serie A. Despite that reputation, Inter are considering the approach from Anfield as they look to improve their finances.The player has placed responsibility for any transfer firmly on the Italian club by stating that he wishes to impress the coach Andrea Stramaccioni. Coutinho told Sky Italia: “The Liverpool offer? I’m happy with these offers, because it means I am doing my job well. But I think Inter have faith in me and I want to show my value here. I don’t feel that I’m on my way out. I hope to stay at Inter. The young players feel the faith of the coach and of the club.”The Liverpool defender Danny Wilson, meanwhile, has admitted he has little future at the club under Brendan Rodgers. The Scotland international has made only nine first team appearances for Liverpool since joining the club for an initial £2m from Rangers in 2010 and is now on loan at Hearts until the summer.The 21-year-old, who has not made a senior appearance for Rodgers, said: “It’s going to be difficult for me to have a future at Liverpool. They have four centre-backs there who are fighting for two positions really. You see players who played in past seasons not playing as much now. I have not really managed to force my way in. My only thinking now is to get out and play and what happens, happens.”LiverpoolInternazionaleTransfer windowAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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GUARDIAN – Jack Butland may be sold to ease Birmingham’s financial worries

• Acting chairman Peter Pannu admits they may cash in• England goalkeeper a target for LiverpoolJack Butland may leave Birmingham in the January transfer window in order to keep the club out of administration. The 19-year-old England goalkeeper is being chased by several teams, most notably Liverpool, who are understood to have already been in talks with the Midlands club.Birmingham rejected a £6m bid from Southampton in the summer, but the acting chairman, Peter Pannu, has admitted the cash-strapped club may not be able to resist such temptations next month.”I can’t say that we are in a very wonderful situation, I would be lying if I said that,” Pannu told the Birmingham Mail. “This is a very tricky question [player sales]. What I can say is that – and I might be blasted for this by the fans – but no one is for sale and everyone is available. As at any club.”Give me a £15m offer for Jack Butland, can I say no? I have rejected £6m from Southampton but I rejected it when our finances were OK. As the time is ticking, I might not be able to reject it if I get something similar.”I do have a responsibility to keep the club running. My top priority now – and if I do offend anyone, I care not – is to make sure this clubs stays afloat.”Butland is not the only player facing a possible exit, with a handful of other high earners troubling Birmingham’s wage bill, most notably Nikola Zigic’s £50,000-plus a week wages.Pannu has been exploring the possibility of bringing in new owners or finding investment in the club for some time. The board of Birmingham International Holdings Limited, City’s parent company, announced late last month it was in talks with two parties from Hong Kong and one from the UK – Gianni Paladini’s Italian-backed consortium. It was at an advanced stage in discussions with one of the Hong Kong bidders, which has now fallen through.Providing an update on the situation, Pannu said: “It is no secret that there are two parties in Hong Kong that we have been dealing with. The fans also know that my preferred party, the Charles Chan and SMEG group, unfortunately did not transpire. But we still have another very big party we are dealing with in Hong Kong.”Pannu also revealed he continues to be in discussions with Paladini’s consortium and met a member of the bid for talks recently, although he is demanding greater clarity on those behind the offer and their plans.Birmingham CityLiverpoolTransfer windowguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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