English FA and Premier League will not stop bid by Thai PM

LONDON: The English Football Association (FA) and the Premier League will not block Thailand's billionaire Prime Minister from buying a stake in Liverpool, spokesmen for the two ruling bodies said on Friday. 

Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecoms tycoon, has said his odds of winning a stake in the Premier League club are “better-than-even” after Liverpool's board rebuffed a rival bid from British businessman Steve Morgan. 

“There is nothing in our regulations to prevent such a bid from going ahead,” an FA spokesman said. 

The Premier League, administrators of England's top-flight division, said it did not comment on speculation but a spokesman told Reuters: “The Premier League is a global phenomenon and as such we can hardly be surprised that it attracts foreign investment. 

“Clubs are inextricably linked to local communities but at the other end of the scale they are listed companies and people will trade in their shares.” 

Thaksin is offering about US$100mil for a 30 percent stake in the Premier League club. 

“I would say it is now 51:49 in our favour. We are in a good, better-than-even position,” Thaksin told reporters in Bangkok after Liverpool directors said Morgan's bid was “not attractive”. 

If the bid succeeded, the Thais would seek a role in the club's business, he said. 

“Our proposals involve not only buying shares but they also would benefit the club. We will not be just a silent partner,” he said. 

Foreign investors already hold significant stakes in some of England's biggest clubs. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea last year and Irish racehorse owners JP McManus and John Magnier have a major holding in Manchester United. 

American tycoon Malcolm Glazer, who owns NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also has shares in the Old Trafford club. – Reuters 

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