| 11.3°C Dublin

Liverpool CEO Ayre dismisses talk of owners selling


Ian Ayre

Ian Ayre

Ian Ayre

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has dismissed any suggestion that club owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) could be interested in selling the club.

With the club off-loading several high-earning players in recent months - reducing their cost base - and starting work on the new Main Stand at Anfield - bringing a possible major income boost - some observers have suggested the bottom line of the club could be being improved to prepare for FSG to possibly sell up.

But Ayre is adamant the US owners will be staying put at Anfield.

He said: "Fenway are not going to dispose of the club as they are clearly demonstrating".

That was a reference to the investment in the new stadium which is being funded through an interest-free loan from the owners of £115m which Ayre revealed should be paid back within five or six years.

The new Anfield stand, with an extra 4,000 seats and another 4,500 hospitality places on top of that, will generate additional revenue of around £20m a year.

It appears initial thoughts that a Main Stand sponsor would be worth £1m a year also appear to have been upgraded to around £5m a year.

Ayre said: "If we had increased capacity by 8,500 general admission seats only, it would have taken a ridiculous time to pay back the investment, meaning revenues into the team would have been affected.

"But the large corporate increase means we will pay the debt back quickly and not be saddled with debt, while quickly increasing revenues into the playing squad."

And on the possible naming rights deal for the Main Stand when it opens in the summer of 2016/17, he added: "The commercial department is in talks with various people. We didn't think that looking for a naming rights deal on a stadium as iconic as Anfield made sense, but there are real value and benefits to be had around a naming rights deal on the new stand.

"It is not just a question of how much a deal is worth, but more about which deal would allow the club and partner to enjoy the most benefit."

Construction work on the Main Stand was started in December.