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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Premier League gives go-ahead to Liverpool deal

The Premier League has given New England Sports Ventures (NESV) permission to progress with its takeover of Liverpool.

• Hodgson's contract has release clause
• Redknapp backs Hicks and Gillett
Liverpool set for High Court
Board sets out investment plan
• Brewin: Out of the frying pan
• In profile: John W Henry
• Forum: In favour of the takeover?

Now the owners of the Boston Red Sox have passed the required owners' and directors' test, the only thing standing in the way of the takeover being completed is the High Court action brought by owners TomHicks and George Gillett.

The Premier League said in a statement: "The Premier League has met with the owners and directors of New England Sports Ventures (NESV) regarding their proposed takeover of Liverpool FC and has received details, in accordance with Premier League rules, of the proposed company and ownership structure as well as the make-up of the new board.

"The Premier League is satisfied, with the information provided, that the individuals NESV intend to put in place in the event they complete their takeover of Liverpool FC meet the criteria set out in our owners' and directors' test.

"The board of the Premier League will continue working with Liverpool FC in regard to this process, however, we are aware that the formal completion of this takeover is yet to be resolved and it is therefore inappropriate for us to offer any further comment at this time."

Chairman Martin Broughton has agreed to sell Liverpool to New England Sports Ventures but owners Hicks and Gillett have mounted a legal challenge to the transaction and the case will be heard at the High Court next week.

If the court finds in favour of the two Americans and the sale does not go through, then Royal Bank of Scotland could well place the club into administration if it opts to call in around £280 million of debt on the deadline of October 15.

It had been suggested that as it is a holding company, Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd, which could suffer administration, Liverpool may avoid a points deduction. However, this is not the case and Liverpool do run the risk of moving to the bottom of the table with -3 points.

Liverpool have already made discreet and tentative representations to the Premier League to put forward their defence and argue that the points should not be docked, ESPNsoccernet has learned.

A source said: "This is not a case of debt because of overspending on players' wages or transfers, it is not about the club's financial mismanagement. We [Liverpool] would hope for a sympathetic hearing."

West Ham avoided administration and a points deduction when the club's holding company, Straumur, was placed into administration in March 2009, as the Hammers were solvent and the problems were related instead to business concerns in Iceland.

However, it is understood that Liverpool will struggle to argue that the issues affecting their holding company are not "relating to the management of the football club" - as dictated by Premier League rules.

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