Gillett blames weak dollar

Liverpool owners claim a weak dollar has tightened spending.


George Gillett, right, chats with former Liverpool
Chairman David Moores [GALLO/GETTY] 

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has blamed the weak U.S. dollar for his lack of investment in the English Premier League club.

Since acquiring a 50 percent stake last March, Gillett, who also owns the NHL’s Montreal Canadians, has been frustrated as the dollar has slumped.

“We’ve invested internationally with Liverpool and with Montreal in Canada, and it’s had a very positive effect on both of them from the standpoint of strengthening the value,” Gillett said in an interview with Sports Business Journal.

“On the other hand, it’s made it more difficult in terms of investing in those businesses because the dollar is really tremendously weak compared to where we started. It just costs us more to send money to those franchises, those business.”

Widespread concerns about the outlook for the U.S. economy saw the dollar drop on Thursday to a new low against the euro.

It is the first indication why Gillett has been trying to sell his stake in the club.

Co-owner Tom Hicks has blocked the purchase by Dubai International Capital.

Hicks, who also owns baseball’s Texas Rangers and the NHL’s Dallas Stars, wants to buy a small percentage of Gillett’s stock so he will gain a controlling interest and reduce the United Arab Emirates consortium to silent investors.

Enjoying himself

Despite the friction between the Americans and furious protests by fans, Gillett insists he still enjoys being involved with Liverpool.

Gillett, the majority owner of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports NASCAR team, said, “I’m really enjoying all three (teams), but for different reasons. In Liverpool, it’s a long distance away and there’s been a fair amount of controversy over there.

“In spite of that, the boys are playing very well and I’m proud of them.”

The Canadians have moved into first place in the NHL’s Northeast Division.

Despite a disappointing Premier League campaign amid the ownership battle, Liverpool has will face Arsenal in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

The Reds host Reading in the Premier League on Saturday as it looks to secure the fourth qualification berth for next season’s lucrative Champions League.

“It’s clear when you’re winning games everything is happy, you can hear less things and people can talk about football,” Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said Friday.

Benitez said Hicks congratulated him after beating Inter Milan on Tuesday.

“It was positive congratulations and to keep on winning,” the Spaniard said.

“I think he’s really pleased now with the performance of the team.”

European glory

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry hopes Benitez’s bid for a third European final in four years will not be hindered by the boardroom turmoil.

“The ownership situation will resolve itself,” Parry said at the Champions League draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

“We have got a huge amount to play for in the second half of this season. We are not being hindered in any way, shape or form in terms of what we need to do, so the focus is on the football.”

Despite the protests about a lacking of spending, both Gillett and Hicks have a funded a number of key signing for Liverpool. Among others spanish striker Fernando Torres arrived for $40 million dollars, while midfielders Ryan Babel and Javier Mascherano cost $35 million and $38 million respectively.

Source: News Agencies