Chinese Government Close to Liverpool Purchase: What's Your Verdict?
What would you say if the future owner of Liverpool FC was the Chinese Government? Sounds too unbelievable to be true, but the British press is reporting that The Reds could be bought by one of the original reds, the Chinese Government, within the next month.
The Chinese Government’s overseas investing arm is China Investment Corporation (CIC), which is funding the bid fronted by Chinese sports tycoon Kenny Huang. The CIC is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world and has assets of $332 billion as of the end of 2009. A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund that invests globally.
The prospect of the Chinese Government becoming the owner of one of the top clubs in the Premier League raises many questions. The first is how the Premier League’s fit and proper person test will consider a Communist government owning an English club. Should a country who has a long list of human rights offenses be considered a “fit and proper person”?
The second is to consider what the Chinese Government’s goals are with Liverpool FC. At the top of their list will be the revenue opportunity. Despite the awful financial mess the club is in, Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world with a massive fanbase in Asia. And the Chinese Government has an opportunity to pay off the club’s debt, to build the new Liverpool stadium at Stanley Park and to invest in the transfer market. But beyond that, what are the Chinese Government’s goals? Are they purely investment, or do they have other ideas in mind such as PR opportunities?
There are two other major bidders other than the Chinese Government who are trying to acquire Liverpool FC, so there is hope for those soccer fans who may not be too comfortable with the Chinese Government’s involvement. The other bidders are believed to be a wealthy Kuwaiti family and an American private-equity group.
It’s believed that the CIC is in pole position to acquire Liverpool FC. But as we’ve seen in the last few years, the acquisition of a football club is often a long and complicated exercise with plenty of twists and turns. Still, you have to wonder what the public’s reaction will be regarding the prospect of the Chinese Government owning one of the crown jewels of English football.
What do you think? Should the Chinese Government be allowed to acquire Liverpool through their sovereign wealth fund? If you’re a Liverpool supporter, would CIC acquiring Liverpool affect the way you support your club or not? Share your opinion in the comments section below.