EXCLUSIVE: Everton’s new £550m stadium could be DELAYED after being charged by the Premier League over breaching spending rules… with investors reluctant to commit until the matter has been resolved
- Everton’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is in danger of being delayed
- Potential investors are hesitant to commit funding to the £550m project
- It comes after the Toffees were charged over alleged spending breaches
The club are halfway through building the 52,888-seat stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock having spent around £350million on construction to date, but require external funding to finish the £550m project that is crucial to their future.
Everton are in advanced negotiations with New-York based investment firm MSP Sports Capital about providing funding following a prolonged search for investment led by American banks MUFG and JP Morgan Chase, but they were unaware of the pending Premier League charge which has left them blind-sided.
Whilst all three financial institutions have conducted extensive due diligence and are comfortable with Everton’s accounts the possibility of a future points deduction is understood to have caused alarm.
The Premier League’s sanctions if Everton are found guilty include a points deduction, transfer ban and the imposition of strict spending restrictions.
Construction on Everton’s new £550m stadium could be delayed after the club were charged by the Premier League over alleged spending breaches
The club require external funding to finish the 52,888 capacity ground on Bramley-Moore Dock – and investors are reluctant to press ahead until the matter is closed
It is the latest blow to Everton, who are battling against relegation in the Premier League
Owner Farhad Moshiri is reluctant to fund the rest of the project as he has already spent £700m since taking over in 2016
Whilst the disciplinary process will not be completed in time to affect Sean Dyche’s side battle against relegation this season the threat of future sanctions could delay a funding agreement.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri could fund the remainder of the construction himself as infrastructure spending is exempt from Premier League rules, but he is reluctant to do so as he has already spent more than £700m since taking over the club seven years ago.
The Iranian businessman has also explored selling Everton or a portion of his shareholding, but scaled back that ambition to securing stadium funding amidst concerns that a sale would invite government scrutiny of his links to Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, who was sanctioned following the invasion of Ukraine last year.
The sanctions against Usmanov have cost Everton tens of millions of pounds and been another blow to the stadium project, as his company had agreed a future naming-rights deal in addition to sponsoring the training ground.
In the financial year 2019-20 Usmanov’s company USM Holdings were responsible for £42m of Everton’s £64m sponsorship revenue.
Everton have yet to announce an opening date for the new stadium which is set to be completed at some point during the 2024-25 campaign, but they could opt to stay at Goodison Park for the remainder of that campaign.
Whilst the club have agreed a fixed-price construct with builders Laing O’Rourke a delay in securing funding could see the completion and opening date pushed back.
An artist’s impression of how Everton’s new stadium will look when construction is finished