Scudamore - Reds were not at risk

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Liverpool were never at risk of going out of business despite the financial uncertainty surrounding the recent takeover, according to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

But there is nothing in place to stop another debt-funded buyout, such as that which saw Tom Hicks and George Gillett assume control at Anfield in 2007, taking place in the world's most famous league.

Scudamore explained: "The club was never at risk. There were bidders for it and the outcome was always what was likely to happen."

Liverpool - whose fans feared they could go into administration and incur a nine-point penalty - were eventually taken over earlier this month by New England Sports Ventures, who guaranteed to pay off the club's £237million acquisition loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland, which had been taken out by Hicks and Gillett.

Scudamore continued: "There is nothing in place per se to stop another Hicks and Gillett happening. When they came along they passed all our tests and they would pass our current tests in terms of them as individuals."

Scudamore, however, believes the sort of buy-out put together by Hicks and Gillett could not take place in the current financial circumstances. And he insists there are stricter controls in place at the Premier League.

Scudamore said: "What is different now is the extensive meetings we have with any prospective new owners and the future financial information which is required. The world has moved on. That sort of borrowing against that sort of asset is just not available in the market place anymore.

"Those were different times. There is no way that sort of borrowing could be obtained now to put that sort of deal together."

There are no moves, however, to ban debt-funded takeovers.

"They are allowed," added Scudamore, who was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme. But if we deem the level of leverage to be too high and the business to be unsustainable then we have much more power as a board to either prevent that from happening or to apply some pretty stringent controls on the club."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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