Anfield saga continues.
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A Texas court has granted a temporary restraining order stopping the sale of Liverpool Football Club, owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have claimed.
It comes hours after the American pair saw their challenge against the club’s sale thrown out by the High Court.
Hicks and Gillett issued a statement as the Liverpool board met to ratify the sale to New England Sports Ventures.
In reply, the board vowed to “move as swiftly as possible to seek to have it [the restraining order] removed”.
The club’s statement continued: “Following the successful conclusion of High Court proceedings, the board of directors of Kop Football and Kop Holdings met and resolved to complete the sale of Liverpool FC to New England Sports Ventures.
“Regrettably, Thomas Hicks and George Gillett obtained a Temporary Restraining Order from a Texas District Court against the independent directors, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and NESV, to prevent the transaction being completed.
“The independent directors consider the restraining order to be unwarranted and damaging and will move as swiftly as possible to seek to have it removed.”
BBC Sports editor David Bond, commenting on a statement that described the proposed £300m sale as an “epic swindle”, said: “What’s extraordinary about this petition is the language which is used.
“The board will reconvene and take legal advice. They can’t ignore this Texas petition even though it doesn’t have any particular jurisdiction in this country.
“But the question is – and this is Hicks and Gillett’s big gamble – will the buying consortium’s leader John Henry be willing to wait around while they go through the latest legal wrangling to see if they can push ahead with that deal?”
Having gained the injunction from the Dallas court, Hicks and Gillett revealed they are seeking more than £1bn in damages.
The pair claim the injunction prevents Liverpool executing the sale of the club to NESV, with a hearing date set for 25 October.
The legal action in Texas – signed by Judge Jim Jordan of the 160th District Court in Dallas – is “part of a lawsuit filed against Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Martin Broughton, Christian Purslow, Ian Ayre, NESV and Philip Nash” read a statement.
“The lawsuit also seeks temporary and permanent injunctions, and damages totalling approximately $1.6 billion (more than £1 billion).
“The suit lays out the defendants’ “epic swindle” in which they conspired to devise and execute a scheme to sell LFC to NESV at a price they know to be hundreds of millions of dollars below true market value.”
However Tom Cruise, an expert in litigation at the Texas branch of US law firm Baker and Hostetler, suggested that the injunction would only give the club’s American owners a temporary reprieve.
“It appears this was a little bit of a Texas ambush, but it’s subject to immediate review [by the judge who granted the injunction] and then if this judge attempts to restrain the sale a court of appeal in Texas could review the sale as well,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“A temporary restraining order under Texas law is an emergency measure where life or liberty is at issue and that’s why it has to expire within 14 days. (BBC Sport)
This must be pretty galling for Liverpool Football Club. That Tom Hicks and George Gillett are willing to do anything to keep hold of the club is one thing but the terms used in this legal suit are simply breathtaking examples of the lengths the American pair will go to in order to mask their own flagrant attempts to take the club to the brink of collapse is frankly mind-boggling.
This latest bit of news will not go down with the club’s Anfield supporters who may have thought that better days were ahead of them following the High Court ruling in the favour of both RBS and the remaining board members.
One wonders what Hicks and Gillett will try next and whether these protracted dealings will put off prospective owners stumping up the cash after all this palaver. Luckily is seems that New England Sporting Ventures are as determined as ever to see their deal go through and they may well decide to push on regardless of this Texas court ruling.