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British judge clears way for Henry

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 13, 2010 11:22 AM

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John Henry is getting closer to owning Liverpool FC.

A judge in London decided today that the soccer team's board of directors does have the right to approve the sale of the team.

High Court Judge Christopher Floyd ruled that American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. do not have the power to change the makeup of the board in an attempt to block the sale.

The board last week agreed to sell the team to Henry's New England Sports Ventures for $476 million.

At the same time, Singapore billionaire Peter Lim urged the board to accept his higher bid. But Henry cautioned against that.

“NESV has a binding agreement in place with the Board of Liverpool FC and we are looking forward to concluding the deal," a statement said. "We are ready to move quickly and help create the stability and certainty which the Club needs at this time. It is time to return the focus to the Club itself and performances on the pitch.”

Note the word "binding."

Meanwhile, Henry visited a Cambridge pub yesterday to get to know some Liverpool followers.

The sale is expected to be made final soon as debts incurred by Hicks and Gillett come due on Friday. Henry's offer essentially pays off that note.

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