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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 15:38 GMT
Reds owners suspend stadium work
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Artists impression of inside of proposed new Liverpool FC stadium
Liverpool have put preparatory stadium work on hold
Liverpool's new owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have suspended work on their proposed new stadium and ordered a review of the plans.

BBC Sport understands the pair want to examine ways of increasing the 60,000 capacity of the arena in Stanley Park.

Liverpool have targeted 2009 as an opening date for the stadium, but if major changes are made, there would need to be a new planning application.

This could result in a delay, although the original date may yet be met.

Liverpool have yet to confirm the decision to suspend preparatory work on the 215m project, but have revealed a review will be undertaken.

A Liverpool spokesman said: "There is a total commitment to a new stadium but the new owners are conducting a thorough review of the current proposals, to see if there is any way they can be improved."


BBC Sport believes the club's hierarchy regards the move to commission a review of the plans as a sign of the huge ambition of Gillett and Hicks rather than any move to back away from the original scheme.

Gillett and Hicks are fully behind the project as part of their takeover plan, and it is understood the review will take ''weeks rather than months'', allowing work on any alterations to the original design to get under way as soon as possible.

An increased capacity will be one of the plans under discussion during the review, but this is not a guarantee that this will happen.

Work on the new ground needs to start in the spring because public money has been allocated to the regeneration element of the plan, and it has to be spent by the end of 2008.

Gillett said in early February: "The shovel needs to be in the ground in the next 60 days.

"We are fully supportive of the Stanley Park development and of building a facility that we hope will be the greatest facility in this sport.

"We do work hard on design and development and making sure the quality of the fan experience is unparalleled.

"We want to make sure the newest technology is incorporated in it. It is about the comfort of fans."

And Hicks added: "We have our own people lined up to see if, within the confines of the plans, there are any other ideas that would be good for the fans."

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