3 June 2024 - 4:30 AM



Monday briefing: Everton to “assess all options” after collapse of 777 Partners’ takeover bid

  • Spanish Super Cup deal: Piqué investigated over alleged illegal payments from Saudi Arabia
  • Juventus to rejoin ECA after withdrawing from European Super League plans
  • Watford hold talks with Anthony Joshua representatives over potential investment

Everton have confirmed that 777 Partners’ proposed takeover of the club has fallen through after the US investment firm’s deadline to complete the purchase of Farhad Moshiri’s 94.1 per cent stake passed on Saturday morning.

Moshiri has opted not to grant another extension and the Merseyside club are now free to talk to other investors. In a statement, Everton said they will “assess all options for the club’s future ownership.”

The club added that its “board of directors recognises the considerable level of financial support 777 Partners has provided the club over recent months and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for this.”

Loans totalling £200 million

Since last September, 777 has loaned Everton around £200 million to cover working capital and construction costs for the club’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and would become junior creditors.

Doubts over the Miami-based group’s takeover bid accelerated over recent weeks amid a crumbling business portfolio, accusations they are guilty of fraud running into hundreds of millions of pounds, and the appointment of crisis management specialists.


Spanish Super Cup deal: Piqué investigated over alleged illegal payments from Saudi Arabia

The former FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué has been put under official investigation for his alleged role in illegal payments that were made to relocate the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

A Spanish judge, Delia Rodrigo, said there were indications of financial misconduct in a deal between Piqué’s company, Kosmos, and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) back in 2019, when Piqué was still playing for Barcelona and competing in the Super Cup.

Rodrigo wrote: “The facts under investigation in the present proceedings originate from possible illegalities with criminal implications in contracting or agreements.”

“Success bonus”

According to the court documents, the then RFEF president Luis Rubiales, the Saudi government-owned Sela Sport Company and Piqué signed a ten-year agreement in which Kosmos would receive €40 million as a “success bonus” for the switch to Saudi Arabia.

However, documents confiscated by police raids in March showed that another €4 million a year was to be paid as a commission to Piqué’s sports entertainment company, which had its assets frozen in April.

Piqué has since retired from playing and has always defended the deal, insisting it was legal. Police arrested Rubiales and other RFEF employees in April. He was quickly released and the investigation was then expanded to include Rubiales’s successor, interim president Pedro Rocha.


Juventus to rejoin ECA after withdrawing from European Super League plans

The European Club Association (ECA) has announced that Juventus are to rejoin as members after the club withdrew from plans to form a European Super League.

The Italian giants were one of 12 clubs who signed up to form a breakaway Super League back in 2021 and were excluded from the ECA as a result. Nine have since been readmitted, with Juve becoming the tenth.

In a statement released on Saturday, ECA chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said: “ECA's door is always open to clubs who believe in collective interests, progressive reform and working constructively with all stakeholders – we are delighted Juventus will rejoin the European football family.”

Juventus started the process of withdrawing from the ESL last year, but required authorisation from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The Serie A club’s withdrawal leaves the two Spanish sides as the only teams to maintain interest in forming a breakaway league.

ECA membership rises to 658 clubs

The ECA’s statement followed a meeting of its Executive Committee in London, where it was also announced that the ECA’s membership has now grown to 658 clubs, up from 266 at the beginning of the 2023/24 season, with 100 per cent membership in 20 countries.


Watford hold talks with Anthony Joshua representatives over potential investment

Financial experts working with British boxer Anthony Joshua have held exploratory talks with Watford over an investment in the club, according to a report from The Athletic.

Although not directly involved in discussions himself, the two-time heavyweight champion was approached about the possibility of becoming involved in the EFL Championship club and talks are said to have been at “entry level”.

The proposal that was discussed is undisclosed at this stage but sources close to the talks suggested that Joshua’s potential involvement may be as part of a consortium proposition.

Club valued at £150-£175 million

Watford – owned by Italian Gino Pozzo since 2012 – have been seeking investment for the last few years and have previously held discussions with other parties regarding a minority stake in the club. Watford value the club at around £150-£175 million.

‘AJ’, as he is commonly known, has strong connections to the club. He was born at Watford General Hospital next to the club’s Vicarage Road ground, grew up in North Watford on the Meriden Estate and went to school in nearby Kings Langley.