THE ruling Sheikh of Dubai is to take a more hands-on approach to secure ownership of Liverpool Football Club, the Daily Post understands.

Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum is believed to be taking a close personal interest in the attempt to persuade American co-owner Tom Hicks to sell up.

If Sheikh Mohammed did manage to buy the club it would be the first time a Premier League club were fully owned by a sovereign state.

As the Daily Post previously exclusively revealed, co-owner George Gillett has already agreed to sell his share.

The Sheikh’s involvement represents a shift from investing via Dubai Interna-tional Capital (DIC), which is owned by the mid-east emirate.

The shift away from using DIC as an investment vehicle is understood to surround the need for the private equity group to make large returns.

The amount that has been offered for the club, between £400m and £500m, and the £350m needed for the new stadium mean returns would not come as quickly or be as high as the demands of private equity.

To that end Sheikh Moham-med is understood to be in regular contact with Amanda Staveley, of PCP Capital Partners, Dubai’s UK-based advisers.

A source familiar with the situation said Miss Staveley had known the Dubai Royal family for more than a decade.

She is understood to have come into contact with the Sheikh in Newmarket where she was involved in the restaurant trade.

Sheikh Mohammed also owns famous horse racing brand Godolphin which has a stud in the town.

The source said that the Sheikh’s ownership could be along the same lines as Godolphin.

“Godolphin is not run as a plaything, it is a serious organisation,” the source said.

The Sheikh has enjoyed considerable success with Godolphin, in which he has invested untold millions. It is regarded as having one of the top two horse breeding operations in the world alongside Coolmore in Ireland.

Since starting in 1992, Godolphin has won 138 Group One races in 11 countries, their most famous jockey being Frankie Dettori.

The presence of Miss Staveley and DIC chief executive Sameer al-Ansari at Liverpool’s first leg Champions League semi-final against Chelsea at Anfield last week gave a clear indication of the group’s continued interest in the club.

It is understood Dubai and Gillett are likely to press for a solution to the current impasse at the club once it has got the Champions League campaign, which res- umes at Stamford Bridge tonight, out of the way.


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