Liverpool FC – No More Anfield Stadium?

No, Liverpool aren’t planning on making the move to new Anfield at Stanley Park in the near future. American ownership means American thinking, and an excellent way to raise money is selling the naming rights to your stadium, no matter how legendary, old and symbolic it may be.

One of the owners of the Fenway Sports Group, John W Henry knows that in order to compete with the big players of the Premier League he needs to spend more money, but with the FIFA financial fair play rules coming into play from 2013, it’s going to be more difficult to just spend and spend, even if you got the money, and cover the club’s losses at the end of the season by writing a check. For a club to be self-sufficient, finding away to improve fund raising is a must, especially when the stadium is just a 45,000-seater.

So from where? Henry and his group believes the money isn’t in England, where the teams are already getting maximum pay from incredibly high ticket prices and the fantastic deal with Sky.

This club should be able to significantly increase its revenues but it won’t be easy. But I don’t see it happening at the local level – the vast majority must come from our global agenda. A naming rights deal at Anfield could occur if the partner were right. We haven’t yet pursued it.

Liverpool have spent over £120 million on transfer fees since the new ownership took over in late 2010, which didn’t help the team do more than win the League Cup in 2012. Not enough to save Kenny Dalglish’s job, or others who have been involved in scouting and purchasing players.

While the days of big, reckless spending are supposed to be over, teams like Chelsea and PSG haven’t seemed to slow down this summer with their expenses, which makes Henry (and us) a bit skeptical about whether FIFA and the leagues themselves will actually enforce these new regulations.

The mandate of Financial Fair Play in Europe is for clubs to live within their means. Recently I was told that half of the clubs in the top divisions within Europe are losing money and 20% are in straits of varying degrees. We believe the league itself may have to adopt its own rules given that clubs seem to be ignoring UEFA’s rules, which may be porous enough to enable clubs to say that the trend of huge losses is positive and therefore be exempt from any meaningful sanctions.

Will Liverpool stop it’s spending completely? Of course not, but it seems the American is tending towards playing by the rules and not create a huge deficit each season. For the first three seasons of the ‘Fair Play’, a club can finish the season with losses of €45 million without being banned or punished.

It’s up to LFC to invest properly in players going forward so that the club can not only be sustainable but a powerhouse. Our goal is to win the Premier League. It’s not going to happen this year, but that is what we are building for – first and foremost. That’s only going to happen if our league performance turns around substantially.

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