Everton will reportedly be required to pay a hefty sum to return the Bramley Moore Dock site to its original condition if its under-construction stadium is not completed, as the club provided an update on the project.
The Guardian has reported that this bill could run to tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds. Everton told the newspaper that it was “highly improbable” that the club would be required to pay such costs and did not reveal its estimate of this liability.
The report in The Guardian details Everton’s continued search for funding for the £500m (€573m/$594m) project, which broke ground in August 2021. The stadium, which will have a capacity of 52,888, is due to be completed in the 2024-25 season.
Everton is owned by Farhad Moshiri and recent reports have suggested that the businessman is considering selling a stake in the club. In March, Everton announced that it had suspended all sponsorship arrangements with its Russian commercial partners, including USM, which held an exclusive option on the naming rights to the new stadium.
USM is a diversified Russian holding company with significant interests across the metals and mining, telecoms, technology and internet sectors, with its founder being Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek-born Russian oligarch who is a close friend of Moshiri. Usmanov had his assets frozen in March as part of sanctions imposed by the European Union following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In January 2020, Everton announced that Usmanov had agreed to pay £30m for an exclusive option on the naming rights to its new stadium. USM, which already held naming rights to Everton’s Finch Farm training ground, paid £30m up front for the exclusive option on the contract.
Everton has also pulled out of a local authority funding deal for the stadium and The Guardian notes that the club agreed to pay £502,000 of the £841,000 in costs that Liverpool City Council had expended in exploring the loan.
The report adds that Everton is yet to secure financial backing for the stadium, despite construction work being well underway. Moshiri’s initial backing allowed the work to commence.
A spokesman for Moshiri told The Guardian that he was “perplexed” by the newspaper’s questions regarding the club’s finances, adding that there was “no public interest” in analysing its funding and that the club is in rude financial health.
Last week, Everton announced that the first of the giant trusses that will support the stadium’s roof structure had successfully been installed. The 100-tonne section of steelwork was hoisted into place in the north stand, commencing a series of lifts over the coming weeks at both ends of the stadium that will offer a first view of its full height.
The stadium will have five roof trusses in total. Two will be located in the smaller north stand, with three atop the one-tier south stand that will have a capacity of 13,000.