Liverpool pay back £60m in refinance deal

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Liverpool's American owners have concluded a deal to refinance the bank loan they took out to buy the club in 2007. Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are not expected to issue a statement, but the deal is believed to be for another year and will involve them paying back £60m of the original debt.

Negotiations between the Royal Bank of Scotland, Wachovia and the owners have continued for months. There had been real fear the banks would call in the loan, while Hicks and Gillett have searched for someone to take a minority stake in the club for around £100m to no avail. But a source close to the owners has confirmed that the deal has now been concluded, and before last weekend's deadline for re-financing the package expired.

The owners have reduced the £290m they owed to £230m, with £60m being repaid, half immediately.

Hicks, 63, and Gillett, 70, purchased Liverpool in 2007 for £174m, taking on £44.8m of liabilities. At the time they maintained that financing the debt would not fall on the club. But that attitude changed, and Liverpool now have to find around £40m a year to service the debt, a situation that has enraged fans' groups and impacted on manager Rafael Benitez's transfer budget.