Tuesday 18th May 2004 


LIVERPOOL FC have agreed a deal allowing the Thai PM to buy a 30% stake in the club, government officials in Bangkok claimed today.

A member of Thaksin Shinawatra's government was understood to be on his way to the UK today to finalise the details on the £65m deal.

Anfield chiefs are expected to make an announcement later this week.

Thaksin believes the way has been left clear for him after the Reds rejected a £73m bid from Steve Morgan last week.

Although the offer from the Thai PM aroused controversy when it was first revealed last week, it is now the only bid left on the table.

The only sticking point is thought to be the demand from the Thai consortium that Liverpool hand over Far East marketing rights before any contract is signed. But the impasse over lucrative marketing rights is believed to be a minor stumbling block.

Thaksin said: "In principle, they have agreed to give it to us and now we are working on the details.

"I hope we don't have any problems, but if we cannot agree with Liverpool we still have alternatives."

Thaksin added: "Now 60% is comfortable and there is still another 40% that we still have to discuss before we agree.

"We submitted the Memorandum of Understanding and they countered with their draft, and we have to have further negotiation. Things should conclude this week."

Thai government spokesman Santiparb Tejavanija was due to arrive in Liverpool today to meet Liverpool FC officials.

But Liverpool supporters today called for an official club statement on the proposed deal. "

Season ticket holder Kevin McDonnell from Aigburth said: "We keep hearing from different people in Thailand, but we should not have to rely on them for information.

"The club has a duty to the fans to put us in the picture. We invest a great deal of time and money in Liverpool FC and it is about time they remembered that."

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Richard Caborn was today questioned about Liverpool becoming involved with someone with a questionable human rights record.

He told BBC Radio 5: "It is up to Liverpool to decide who they want to invest in the club.

"But it is important for clubs to have roots in the community they are from.

"Liverpool have been fantastic in terms of this since the days of Shankly and it is incumbent on the club to take this into consideration."

Liverpool Echo