Liverpool would be at risk of a nine-point deduction if the owners' holding company is put into administration, it emerged tonight.
Initially it had been thought the Premier League would not penalise the club for Kop Holdings becoming insolvent, but now the threat of a points deduction has become a serious one.
The Royal Bank of Scotland could put Kop Holdings, the company owned by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, into administration if the Americans continue to block a takeover by New England Sports Ventures and have not paid off their £280m (€319.25m) debt to the bank by October 15.
Under Premier League rules, the fact that the holding company is solely concerned with the ownership of Liverpool and football-related matters could trigger the nine-point penalty.
An insider told Press Association Sport: "It is not completely clear whether the nine-point penalty would come into play but it would be a risk."
West Ham has been used as an example of why the Reds might escape a deduction if administration goes ahead when it was owned by Icelandic bank Straumur.
However, the Hammers were a solvent part of a whole portfolio of different companies while Kop Holdings is solely concerned with Liverpool.
Hicks and Gillett's legal action against the proposed takeover will begin in the British High Court next week.