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Liverpool owner questions Manchester City stadium deal

 

It was modestly described as "one of the most important sponsorship arrangements in the history of world football" by Manchester City Chief Executive Garry Cook, but it's a deal which has raised many eyebrows and been met with scepticism by some with Liverpool owner John Henry tweeting 'How much was the losing bid?'

The reported £400m sponsorship deal is thought to be world-record sum for a sporting commercial agreement but many are suggesting that the deal has been put in place to circumvent the imminent UEFA Financial Fair Play rules by artificially inflating the club's balance sheet.

City are quick to dismiss such reports and Cook has said that the club remain in constant dialogue with UEFA: "We have had several meetings with UEFA about our plans and they are very supportive of Manchester City's ambition.

"There are many football clubs who have the backdrop of regulation that is being placed into the world of football. We are no different to any other football club."

Liverpool meanwhile could be set to go down the road of stadium naming rights themselves, though whether that will be at a redeveloped Anfield or a purpose built stadium elsewhere remains to be seen. John Henry had hoped to give a sympathetic modernisation to Anfield but has hit 'barriers' in his plans and the Reds could now explore options away from their spiritual home.

Current shirt sponsors Standard Chartered are rumoured to be interested in the opportunity to have their name associated with any such stadium, though they are unlikely to pay anywhere near the £400m the 'Etihad Campus' received.

Matt Morris

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