MPs to launch inquiry into Liverpool power struggle

April 25, 2008

Liverpool's power struggle between the club's American owners will be part of a new inquiry into football by MPs.

The All Party Parliamentary Football Group is to launch a new inquiry into English football and its governance, and the Liverpool crisis is one of the areas it will target.

The club's progress to the Champions League semi-finals has been overshadowed by a row between co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Alan Keen MP, chairman of the group, said: 'English club football is enjoying great success in Europe at the moment.

'Yet many questions remain about the standard of corporate governance and whether it is best equipped to deal, at every level, with the long-term challenges of the game's future. This is the focus of the group's new inquiry.

'The group will examine case studies on governance, including Liverpool FC where the role of the owners has raised significant public concerns and overshadowed achievements on the field.'

The MPs, who published a comprehensive report into the game four years ago, plan to produce the new report in the autumn.

The takeover of Liverpool by Hicks and Gillett has thrown the issue of foreign ownership into the spotlight. Despite insisting they would not do so, the Americans tried to load the debt from the takeover on to the club and have since fallen out completely.

With the power split, the club is locked in a stalemate with Hicks demanding the resignation of chief executive Rick Parry and Gillett insisting he must stay.

The group's last report recommended a radical re-distribution of football's riches coupled with tougher corporate governance standards throughout the game.

Keen said there had been some improvements within the game since then but no, or slow, progress on the majority of their recommendations.

'Much of the game's corporate governance structure is opaque, to say the least, and does not reflect the best examples of British business,' he added.