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Liverpool owner John Henry insists commitment is ‘stronger than ever’

73-year-old says Fenway Sports Group will continue to “invest wisely”.

8 March 2023 PA

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Liverpool’s principal owner John W Henry insists his commitment to the English soccer giants is stronger than ever and will continue to “invest wisely” in the transfer market.

The 73-year-old American, as head of the Fenway Sports Group (FSG), reaffirmed an assertion he made last month that Liverpool was never put up for sale in November and the process was only designed to seek outside investment.

FSG has been criticised in some quarters for the lack of spending on players at a time when the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle, backed by new owners, are bolstering their squads.

A perfect storm was created this season with Jurgen Klopp’s side underperforming for the first six months of the campaign and – with even the Premier League top four looking a difficult ask – scrutiny fell on the lack of investment in an ageing midfield, which was seen as the primary issue.

“While we formalised a process that has identified potential investors for the club, we remain fully committed to the long-term success of the club,” Henry told the Liverpool Echo.

“That has been the case since day one in 2010. Our efforts every day have been and continue to be focused on the long-term health and competitiveness of the club.

“Investment in the club is never for the short term. This approach has been successful over the long haul with patience necessary from time to time.

“We’ve seen many football clubs go down unsustainable paths. We have and will continue to focus our attention on investing wisely in the transfer market and we remain incredibly proud of our squad.

“At the same time we continue investing in our training facilities, our main stand and currently the Anfield Road stand.

“These are all physical reflections of our resolve and how very seriously Fenway Sports Group takes its responsibilities for this great club.

“In regard to Liverpool Football Club, our commitment remains stronger than ever.”

Meanwhile, Uefa will refund Liverpool fans who bought tickets for last season’s chaotic Champions League final after acknowledging the ‘negative experience’.

An independent report published last month found European soccer’s governing body was primarily responsible for serious congestion problems outside the Stade de France in Paris.

Thousands of Liverpool fans were penned in against perimeter fences and stuck in a motorway underpass ahead of the game against Real Madrid.

Those same supporters, who had already been targeted by local youths trying to steal tickets, were then tear-gassed by police trying to alleviate further problems after a decision was made to close turnstile gates.

Following the report’s publication Uefa general secretary Theodore Theodoridis apologised to those affected by events and the governing body has now implemented a special refund scheme.

‘We have taken into account a huge number of views expressed both publicly and privately and we believe we have devised a scheme that is comprehensive and fair,’ said a Uefa statement.

‘We value the input from the Liverpool FC supporter organisations Spirit of Shankly (SoS) and Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA) as well as the open and transparent dialogue throughout this period.

‘We recognise the negative experiences of those supporters on the day and with this scheme we will refund fans who had bought tickets and who were the most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.’

Refunds will be available to all fans with tickets for gates A, B, C, X, Y and Z where the most difficult circumstances were reported plus all fans who were not able to enter the stadium before the 9pm scheduled kick-off time (the start was delayed by more than half-an-hour) or who were not able to enter the stadium at all will be eligible for a refund.

All fans who purchased accessibility tickets along with those of their accompanying persons will be refunded but, given the criteria, the refund will nevertheless apply to all the 19,618 tickets of Liverpool’s official allocation.

Refunds are also available to Real Madrid and neutral fans who meet the criteria.

The offer of a refund, however, will not halt the legal action which is being pursued by fans, some of whom were left severely affected after being caught up in the events in Paris.

“Uefa did not just ruin the biggest event in the football season, people were injured and traumatised and any compensation needs to reflect that,” said Clare Campbell and Jill Paterson, partners at law firm Leigh Day which is representing more than 900 Liverpool fans in a claim against Uefa.

“We will be pushing ahead with our legal claim to seek appropriate compensation for our clients, and await an urgent reply to a letter of claim that we have sent to Uefa setting out the legal basis for the action.”

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