With UEFA on the brink of making a decision on Liverpool’s chances of defending the European Cup, cross-city rivals Everton have made it clear they would object to missing out financially from whatever decision is made.
Everton – who support Liverpool’s right to defend the trophy they won last month in Istanbul – fear that if Liverpool are added to the competition as a fifth English club, then the Barclays Premiership’s other entrants could suffer by a diluting of TV revenue.
UEFA are believed to be about to make a decision on Liverpool’s defence of their crown, possibly within a couple of days as executive committee delegates are consulted ahead of their scheduled meeting in Manchester next week.
But Everton are concerned about the financial implications of such a move.
Reports surfaced last week that if UEFA give Liverpool the green light it would be at a potential £5million cost to Everton if both clubs ended up in the group stages of the competition.
However, Goodison Park chief executive Keith Wyness insists Everton are not in favour of such a move.
Wyness believes the onus is on UEFA to find a way of accommodating Liverpool without damaging any club already confirmed as participants.
Wyness said: “I have no problem with the title holders defending their title, as we have said previously.
“However, it should be at no financial expense to any of the other clubs in the competition.
“One solution would be for them to be treated almost as a club with no country and therefore it would not affect the country pool of the clubs that qualify through the normal means.
“It would be up to UEFA to decide what remuneration, apart from gate income, the title holders would receive.”
Everton, fourth in the Premier League, have already been confirmed by the FA as one of England’s four entrants next season and they will come in at the third qualifying stage.
Each country has a percentage of the TV pot, and money is divided between their clubs – a fifth club under the England banner could mean that clubs get a fifth, not a quarter, of the proceeds.
Everton’s involvement in the argument comes as Liverpool are awaiting to hear their fate.
UEFA’s executive committee members are hoping to reach a decision by Wednesday, with increased pressure on European football’s governing body to include the Anfield club.
The G14 elite European clubs’ group have added weight, while FA chairman Geoff Thompson – who is also a UEFA vice-president – has continued lobbying for there inclusion.
UEFA director of communications William Gaillard, who confirmed a decision was expected within two days, said: “It will depend on many telephone calls and the issue being discussed thoroughly with the executive committee members.”
Gaillard believes there is extra “sympathy” for Liverpool because their win in Istanbul was so dramatic.
Rafael Benitez’s side were 3-0 down at half-time, only to pull level and to eventually win on penalties.
“There is a lot of sympathy for Liverpool’s plight, at the same time we have rules,” Gaillard added on the BBC Today programme.
“You strike a compromise between the sympathy and the rules. At the same time, we understand that in England – and probably outside given the way they won the title – that provoked a lot of sympathy.
“But it’s not as easy as it sounds, because it may have an influence on other clubs.”