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No, Liverpool Are Not Being Bought By the Abu Dhabi Royal Family

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In case that needed to be said, which apparently it does.

What has two thumbs, more money than you'll ever have, and isn't buying Liverpool FC? Any of these people, especially Lizzy as she's an Arsenal fan.
What has two thumbs, more money than you'll ever have, and isn't buying Liverpool FC? Any of these people, especially Lizzy as she's an Arsenal fan.
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Liverpool have been loosely connected with a major, mysterious Middle Eastern takeover ever since owner John W. Henry visited Dubai in 2014 to discuss potential Main Stand naming rights with a local property developer. As of yet, nothing has come of those conversations beyond a persistent need by the press to insist that an oil tycoon or a member of a royal family is definitely and totally buying out Henry's ownership of the club at some point in the non-specific future.

Despite being completely unsubstantiated given that the alleged purchase is a "closely guarded secret", the always reliable Daily Star reports that the buyer is none other than Sheikh Khalifa. You know, the president of the United Arab Emirates. That Sheikh Khalifa. The one whose half-brother is the deputy prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mansour. Yes, that Sheikh Mansour, the one who already owns Manchester City.

While these rumours are all terribly lovely for those who like to cause heart palpitations, they're rumours that if turned to reality might very well contravene Premier League club ownership rules. Potential club owners must pass the Owners’ and Directors’ Test (ODT) that can disqualify ownership on a variety of levels, which states:

A Person shall be disqualified from acting as a Director and no Club shall be permitted to have any Person acting as a Director of that Club if:

F.1.1. either directly or indirectly he is involved in or has any power to determine or influence the management or administration of another Club or Football League club

There are more deal breakers beyond the first, but having your half brother already own a club in the same league seems at least worth an investigation into the soundness of one's ownership as it relates to ability to have influence over another club — or even to have another club have influence over the one you're purchasing yourself.

The rumours have at least got one thing mostly correct. The selling price is rumoured to be £700m, more than double what John W. Henry paid in 2010 and right in the ballpark of where the club might have been valued at the close of the fiscal year in May 2015. There's still the possibility of a minority interest sale, of course, but that's a far cry from selling the entire club to a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.