Mayor Joe Anderson is confident an STG8.2 million ($A12.84 million) European regeneration grant will not have to be repaid in the wake of Liverpool’s decision to abandon plans for a new stadium.
On Monday the club confirmed they were to push ahead with a redevelopment of Anfield on the back of a wider improvements plan for the area.
Proposals for a new ground in nearby Stanley Park have been shelved, providing Liverpool can secure the necessary planning permissions and agreements to expand their current home, and that raised questions over what happens to money from the European Regional Development Fund earmarked for improving and preparing the park in advance of any construction work being done.
However, Liverpool City Council are confident they will still be able to use the money for regeneration purposes – for which it was originally identified.
And a spokesman told Press Association Sport that should the grant have to be repaid the football club have agreed to under-write any clawback so the cost will not fall on council tax payers.
“We are looking at the option of using the money in the wider regeneration sense, and I don’t believe we will have to pay it back,” Anderson told the Liverpool Echo.
“If we don’t use it for regeneration or development and leave things as they are, then it would have to be paid, but we don’t think that’s how we are going to approach this.”
According to the Echo, in 2010 the Audit Commission reported the risk of having to pay back the money if such an outcome occurred was a “serious concern”.
The report stated: “The grant offer was made on the condition that the new Liverpool Football Club stadium will be built in Stanley Park.
“In the event that this does not occur, then the European Regional Development Fund grant of 8.2m will be repayable.”