Co-owner Tom Hicks has refuted claims that he blocked an attempt to have a Liverpool fan installed on the Anfield board during negotiations with Dubai International Capital over their potential investment in the club.
It had been claimed by DIC sources that the issue was one of the reasons why talks between the two parties collapsed on Monday.
A DIC insider, heavily involved in talks with fans’ groups over the club’s future, maintained that the idea of a fan on the board did not appeal to Hicks’ negotiators.
But the American has now issued a statement through his London-based advisors.
It said: “With regard to a report today claiming that ’talks between [Tom Hicks] and Dubai International Capital collapsed after the Dubains proposed putting a fans’ representative on the Anfield board’, I can confirm after consultation with Mr Hicks and his representatives at the meetings with DIC that at no time during any such meetings did DIC propose, nor did Mr Hicks or his representatives reject, any such proposal.”
This latest difference only serves to underline the deep problems there are between Hicks and DIC.
After a day of talks on Monday in Dubai, Hicks’ representatives and DIC reached deadlock with the Texan finally breaking off negotiations.
The move came as a shock to DIC, but although they have avoided making any further public statements, it is believed they still want to buy into the club.
Hicks has also vetoed any move by his partner George Gillett to sell a 49% stake in the club to DIC.
But DIC plan to investigate the legality of that move and still want to buy Gillett’s stake.
The suggestion that a fan with full voting rights would be installed on the board followed meetings with supporters’ groups on the Kop on Saturday, when a DIC representative watched the 3-0 win over Newcastle from the famous stand.
Hicks’ reason for terminating talks yesterday was that he did “not be run by committee”.
He is believed to have also wanted DIC to be a virtual sleeping partner while contributing cash to build the stadium and future transfers.
However, high level sources at Liverpool believed they could see such a breakdown coming.
There had been growing concern at Anfield over the triumphant attitude of DIC last week.
A source said: “They seemed over-confident that the deal would go through and there seemed to be a lot of talk about what they wanted and were going to do.”
Several times, Hicks rebuked DIC last week – once over allegations of a leaked document and then over claims that the Dubai group wanted management control even if they owned only 49% of the club.
And he was also unhappy with DIC claims that they would buy him out eventually.
Hicks is now believed to be looking for other buyers in the United States for Gillett’s shares, while DIC are remaining confident that there will be more talks soon.
But they have not set out a timescale and aim to sit back now and see how the current situation – and Hicks’ attempts to raise £300m for the new stadium - pans out.