No LCRCA loan for Everton F.C. venue project


No additional loan required for Everton stadium Image: Everton FC

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) will not be loaning Everton Football Club (UK) £30m towards its new stadium, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, has confirmed.

The ‘Liverpool Echo’ stated that last year the LCRCA, led by Mayor Rotheram, pledged a package of financial support to assist ‘The Blues’ new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium project.

The Everton Football Club is an English professional football club based in Liverpool (UK) that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of the English football league system. Presently, the 39,572-capacity Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, serves as their home facility.

The 52,888-capacity Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium is a proposed football stadium by Everton on the Bramley-Moore Dock in Vauxhall, Liverpool, England (UK). The dock itself was built in 1848. The stadium is proposed to be opened in time for the start of the 2024-2025 Premier League season, replacing Goodison Park.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) is the combined authority of the Liverpool City Region. The Liverpool City Region includes the City of Liverpool local authority area plus the Metropolitan Boroughs of Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the Borough of Halton in North West England.

The ‘Liverpool Echo’ further stated that the package included a £15m grant to help pay for infrastructure and heritage work at the site, and a £30m loan to help with overall costs.

Questions have been asked about the status of the funding package, particularly in light of action taken against Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But on March 7th it was revealed that Everton had already decided not to take up the offer of the £30m loan from the LCRCA after it found alternative sources of funding.

Metro Mayor Rotheram said this was set to be announced in April, but he has responded now in light of questions arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The response from Mayor Rotheram confirms that while the £30m loan is not going ahead, discussions are continuing regarding a £15m grant from the LCRCA for the project.

Usmanov has now been sanctioned by the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom and the United States due to his alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Everton have suspended their sponsorship agreements with Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota following the country’s military invasion of Ukraine.

Usmanov has been a close associate and friend of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri.

On March 3rd, it was announced that Moshiri had severed all business links with Usmanov.

The club started removing branding associated with the companies from their ground earlier in the week.

USM Holdings, the company that sponsored Everton’s Finch Farm training ground in Halewood, England, had paid £30m for the option on the naming rights at Bramley Moore.

Mayor Rotheram and his team were questioned on the status of the funding package by Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat leader, Councilor Richard Kemp.

In response, a statement from Mayor Rotheram read, “I was pleased to see Everton Football Club take decisive action to close sponsorship arrangements with Russian companies following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In September 2021, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) approved funding to Everton Football Club for a £15m grant and £30m loan to support work connected to the new stadium project at Bramley Moore Dock. As one of the largest construction projects in the North of England, coupled with long-term commitments to regenerate the local area, the LCRCA supported the scheme on the basis that it could be the catalyst for much-needed regeneration of communities across North Liverpool and South Sefton.”

The statement further read, “As with all applications for LCRCA funding, bids are independently assessed and must go through a full business case process. The conditions of the funding must be in line with our assurance framework, which has been agreed with the Central Government, and our investment strategy. It is only once these strict criteria are met that any application comes before the political leadership of the LCRCA for consideration. In this case, more than two years’ worth of planning and due diligence was carried out, with local leaders assured that the benefits of this project outweighed the risks and mitigation against risk was factored into the structure of the deal.”

The statement added, “However, in January 2022, Everton notified the LCRCA that it had found alternative sources of funding from the private sector and would therefore no longer require the £30m loan. I believe the fact that Everton had to go to the private sector to secure better terms is testament to the competitive nature of the deal struck by the LCRCA. Notification of this change was due to be brought to the April meeting of the LCRCA, however, due to public interest in the deal following sanctions on Russian business interests in the United Kingdom, we have sought to bring this announcement forward.”

Mayor Rotheram added, “The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) remains in contact with Everton about the next steps on the £15m grant, which is intended to preserve the historical assets of the Bramley Dock area, support the wider development of the site, create jobs for local people, and attract visitors to the region. However, as with the loan the applicant for the funding is Everton Football Club (not any parties associated with it) and all funding will be ringfenced solely in support of the activities listed above.”

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