Former Liverpool chairman claims state ownership is better than private equity

Former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton has weighed in on the conversation surrounding state-owned football clubs.

While it sounds like Fenway Sports Group have binned their plans to sell the club completely, the Glazer family are waiting to inform bidders of what steps will take place in phase two of the negotiation process.

FSG wanted to gauge the market reaction to their listing but a similar announcement from the Glazer family scuppered those plans.

Liverpool were in talks with Qatari-based entity QIA, but those talks appear to have ended with the Qataris backing away from the Merseyside club.

Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and a Qatari consortium have made offers, but involvement from private equity funds like Elliott Advisory has been mooted by sections of the media.

Broughton, who was part of a consortium that tried to buy Chelsea last year, said (via BBC Sport): “Private equity is an unsuitable owner of sports’ teams.

“The US doesn’t let them buy any sports franchise. The standard operating procedure is buy with as little equity and as much leverage as possible, get your equity back as quickly as possible through dividends, then flip it as soon as there is a good profit.

“Nothing wrong with that process in other industries, but it is so far from what the fan wants.

“Football clubs are community entities. They are emotional assets. The fans want equity and no debt.

“Nation states are more appropriate. They take a longer-term view, tend to invest on higher equity, lower debt basis and don’t have a need-to-sell time frame.

“People might not like the particular nation state, but philosophically, I have less concern with a nation state owning something than private equity.”

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1 Comment

  1. “The US doesn’t let them buy any sports franchise.”

    This really is quite telling and says a lot about the UK or PL rather.

    The US doesn’t allow the model which it exports, or we import – i guess we can’t blame the investors for using the rules as they see fit.

    Maybe the PL should be less greedy and more concerned with the long term?

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