Finance

Moshiri refutes Everton sale talk, new stadium investment inbound

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has again reiterated the embattled Premier League football club is not for sale and has instead said he is close to securing fresh investment for its new stadium project.

The latest speculation surrounding Everton, which sits in the Premier League relegation zone and is now on the lookout for another new coach after firing Frank Lampard on Monday, comes after The Guardian reported yesterday (Tuesday) evening that Moshiri is seeking offers of more than £500m (€566.2m/$616.2m) for the Merseyside outfit.

Professional services group Deloitte is said to have been engaged to handle a potential transaction, which the newspaper said could involve an outright sale or a minority investment. Moshiri is said to be seeking to regain the money he has invested in Everton’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which has a current price tag of around £550m.

However, following The Guardian article, the Liverpool Echo reported that Moshiri had told the publication the club is not for sale, with the process to secure further funding for the completion of the new stadium remaining ongoing.

Moshiri has been at the helm at Everton for almost seven years, during which time he has invested heavily both on and off the pitch. However, the stewardship of Everton has been repeatedly questioned and Moshiri and the Everton board have faced intensifying pressure from fans in recent weeks.

Moshiri first dismissed the idea of a sale in July and again returned to the subject earlier this month, ahead of the Premier League match against Southampton at which fans staged a demonstration. The latest reports came as Everton yesterday released details of a meeting held between Moshiri and the club’s Fan Advisory Board.

The meeting took place before Everton’s Premier League defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham United on Saturday, with Moshiri outlining the latest on the stadium and the club’s ownership. He said: “The club is not for sale, but I have been talking to top investors of real quality to bridge a gap on the stadium.

“I can do it myself, but the reason I want to do it is to bring top sport investors into Everton, for some of the reasons the fans want improvement, more talent. We are close to getting a deal done. It is not selling the club at all, it is just bringing more expertise in terms of global sponsorship, commercial development. A lot of specialist sport investors have this pool of knowledge.”

After breaking ground in August 2021 the stadium, which will have a capacity of 52,888, is due to be completed in the 2024-25 season. Over the holiday period, Everton unveiled a video outlining the progress made on its new stadium during 2022 as it warned fans there will be less externally visible development during 2023 as the focus switches to interior work.

After significant progress on the exterior of the stadium in the last 12 months, the Premier League club confirmed that the fit-out began this month, with wires and piping to be installed. Work on hospitality lounges will commence in June, with the club having recently invited supporters to take part in a series of surveys that will help shape match days and the overall visitor experience.

Regarding his commitment to the new stadium, Moshiri said in the video released yesterday: “That is the most important part of the Everton project, for its future. We have suffered three years of COVID and, under this board, they have managed to contain and progress the project and get it to a point where we are very close to stadium financing and I hope to be able to announce that.

“This is a board that is committed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unless you secure that income, you will always have a Financial Fair Play problem with that income we have with our (current) stadium (Goodison Park).

“Of course, thousands of fans can’t see the pitch because of the columns. The stadium was never a luxury for Everton but, for us, it was a necessity. Because it was a necessity, we had to do it. If we wanted to start this stadium today, the cost would be well in excess of £1.1bn.”