Prem chiefs reject Mill approach

The Premier League have rejected an approach from prospective Liverpool owners Mill Financial to take their owners and directors test.

In a last throw of the dice to prevent the takeover by Henry’s New England Sports Ventures (NESV), current owner Tom Hicks is trying to sell his stake to Mill Financial, a USA-based hedge fund.

Mill Financial approached the Premier League last night but were rejected – the league told the fund they could only take instruction from the board of Liverpool, who have already agreed to sell to NESV for £300million.

Hicks is trying to enlist Mill Financial – who already own George Gillett’s 50% of the club – to pay the £280million debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland by today’s deadline and thwart the takeover by NESV.

NESV said that if Hicks did try to sell out to Mill Financial they would go back to the High Court.

An NESV source said: "If that were to happen we would take this back to the High Court as soon as possible. Mill Financial would just be pawns of Tom Hicks and we believe this is all about Tom Hicks maintaining his control over Liverpool."

John W Henry has also pledged to fight Hicks’ "last desperate attempt" to hang on to Liverpool, saying NESV has a binding agreement to buy the club.

Hicks has also removed the restraining order imposed by a Texas court preventing the club’s sale to allow him to sell his stake to Mill Financial.

Henry said on his Twitter account this morning: "We have a binding contract. Will fight Mill Hicks Gillett attempt to keep club today. Their last desperate attempt to entrench their regime."

NESV are ready to send the money for their £300m takeover and believe they have the law on their side – their lawyers won a second successive significant victory yesterday when Mr Justice Floyd granted anti-suit injunctions to nullify decisions taken in the court in Dallas late on Wednesday.

The judge said his mandatory orders were not aimed at the Texas court but Hicks and Gillett to stop them taking further action there.

He was scathing in his remarks about the American co-owners’ conduct, which he described as "unconscionable".

Liverpool’s independent chairman Martin Broughton, who brokered the NESV deal, was positive as he left the offices of their legal team Slaughter and May last night.

"We’re nearly there. We’ve still got to take away the restraining order," said Broughton, who added he hoped to have a deal in place for Henry to attend Sunday’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

"Mr Henry is very committed. My guess is we’ll have it done and he’ll be there – but we’ve got to get rid of this order first."