- Prospective owners have denied allegations including fraud and illegal loans
- Sources close to 777 insist the claims ‘mean little and can be made by anyone’
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Everton’s prospective owners are facing serious questions about the source of their funding after 777 Partners agreed a deal worth more than £500million to buy the club from Farhad Moshiri.
Mail Sport reported earlier this week that the parties were in talks and the Toffees announced yesterday that 777 had agreed to acquire Moshiri’s 94.1 per cent stake, though it is subject to approval by the Premier League, FA and Financial Conduct Authority.
It could be late this year before the deal is ratified and the acquisition will be subjected to the League’s strengthened owners’ and directors’ test. There are claims – which are denied – hanging over 777 of fraud, illegal loans and failing to pay bills.
In the new Premier League directors’ test, it states a ‘disqualifying event’ can be actions by a group that ‘include offences involving violence, corruption, fraud, tax evasion and hate crimes’.
Sources close to 777 insist allegations ‘mean little and can be made by anyone’.
777 co-founder Josh Wander is on the verge of adding another team to the company’s multi-club model with the purchase of Everton
Farhad Moshiri (centre) has been a majority stakeholder at the Liverpool club since 2018
Moshiri, who has been the majority stakeholder at Everton since 2018, wrote in a statement: ‘The nature of ownership and financing of top football clubs has changed immeasurably since I first invested in Everton over seven years ago.
‘The biggest clubs are typically owned by well-resourced PE (private equity) firms, specialist sports investors or state-backed companies and funds.’
No details of how the takeover would be funded have been made public but it would mark the end of the Moshiri era, which has been pockmarked by relegation battles and financial woe.
Sources at 777 are tight-lipped about their plan for the club and even manager Sean Dyche said he was in the dark. ‘The news this morning was breaking to me as well,’ he said ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Arsenal.
‘I don’t know the people coming in. I don’t know their vision of the future until I speak to them. It’ll be interesting to see how they see the club moving forward – off the pitch with business and the stadium, plus on the pitch.’
Josh Wander, who co-founded 777 in 2015, said in a statement: ‘We are truly humbled by the opportunity to become part of the Everton family as custodians of the club, and consider it a privilege to be able to build on its proud heritage and values.’
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Even manager Sean Dyche claimed that he was in the dark about the potential takeover
Everton must attend an independent hearing on October 25 over an alleged breach of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules and 777 might be able to walk away from the deal if Everton are docked points.
777 were late in making a £900,000 payment to business partners at the British Basketball League this summer. They have been working with Tifosy Capital & Advisory to raise the required funding since June but it is believed they have yet to do so.
The Miami-based firm are majority owners of five football clubs including Genoa and Standard Liege, and they also hold stakes in Sevilla and Melbourne Victory, but fans have questioned whether they have the funds to buy and run an outfit such as Everton.
The Everton Fan Advisory Board said in a statement: ‘It is imperative those given responsibility to scrutinise detail of this proposed acquisition do so in the most rigorous manner and such scrutiny is carried out in the interests of Everton’s global fanbase, employees and minority shareholders.’
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
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