£8.2m to be paid back if stadium doesn’t go ahead

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Liverpool City Council could be forced to pay back an £8.2million grant in European funding if the proposed new stadium on Stanley Park does not go ahead.

The council were granted the funding to begin regeneration of the area as part of 2008’s Capital of Culture celebrations, with the club’s new 60,000 seater stadium being the focal part of the building.

But several years on, work has yet to begin on the new stadium and a report from the Audit Commission suggests the money will have to be repaid if the stadium does not go ahead.

Counciller Joe Anderson said, “A robust arrangement should have been put in place to protect the council, not just on this scheme but on others as well.

“European funding was allocated on the premise that things would happen, and clearly if they’re not happening then there is the risk of the clawback.

“The council’s strategy just seems to be ‘let’s not worry about tomorrow, let’s grab what we can today’ and that approach is not good enough.

“People need answers: where is the money, what is it being used for and who is ultimately going to be responsible for paying it back? These risks should have been carefully considered when looking for funding in the first place.”

Liverpool FC have delayed building work on the new stadium after failing to find the funds to build the new stadium following the takeover of American tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks.