Liverpool accuses owners of trickery to stop sale

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LONDON (AP) - Liverpool’s chairman has accused the Premier League club’s American owners of “trying every trick” to halt the sale to the owners of the Boston Red Sox.

A Texas court granted co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. a temporary restraining order halting the takeover by New England Sports Ventures on Wednesday. The move came just as a board meeting convened in London to complete the 300 million pound ($476 million) sale.

Earlier Wednesday, the High Court in London cleared the way for Liverpool’s independent directors to sell at a huge loss to the current owners, who bought the club three years ago.

Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton told Sky Sports News on Thursday, “We’ll keep trying and always remain confident.”

Hicks and Gillett called the attempted sale an “epic swindle” that undervalues the storied Premier League club. They said they are suing the three British board members, the bank controlling the club’s debt and NESV for $1.6 billion in damages. The Dallas court will hold a hearing on the case on Oct. 25, they said.

John Henry, the financier who heads NESV, arrived at the hastily called board meeting Wednesday night hoping to quickly complete the sale after the ruling in the British court. However, at around 1 a.m. local time, he exited through a back entrance to the law firm offices in central London, ignoring reporters’ questions.

With the sale delayed, Liverpool could fail to meet Friday’s deadline to repay its debts to the Royal Bank of Scotland. If Liverpool is put into financial administration, a form of bankruptcy protection, the club would be docked nine points by the Premier League.

Two others bids emerged this week _ one from Singapore businessman Peter Lim and another from American hedge fund Mill Financial.

Liverpool, an 18-time English league champion, is currently mired in the relegation zone after its worst start to a league season since 1953.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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