The long-awaited expansion of Anfield represents a “big step in the right direction” for Liverpool in terms of levelling the playing field with their Premier League rivals commercially, former chief executive officer Rick Parry believes.
Work has started to increase Anfield’s capacity from just over 45,500 to 54,000 ahead of the 2016-17 season after Liverpool finally cleared the many hurdles preventing them making their famous stadium larger.
Parry knows the frustrations the club have faced in attempting to either build a new stadium or renovate Anfield better than most, having served as the club’s CEO for 11 years between 1998 and 2009.
And Parry feels the club will be able to challenge the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal off the pitch once the expansion is complete.
“It’ll be a big step in the right direction, clearly,” he told Perform at the Sporting Directors’ Summit at the Etihad Stadium.
“It is very important that we have Financial Fair Play in the Premier League as well as in Europe because you have to operate within your revenue stream [and Liverpool’s will increase].
“We worked on it for 10 years, but [it was not possible] for a whole variety of reasons, so it’s great to see it happening.”
Liverpool look set to miss out on next season’s UEFA Champions League after a disappointing campaign and Parry underlined how much of a financial blow their likely absence represents.
“It will have a substantial impact on the revenue – you’re probably talking £30million depending on how far you progress,” the ex-Premier League chief executive added.
“A club like Liverpool needs to be there consistently. You don’t want to be in there for a season and then out the next year.
“It’s about being able to get there and then keep your place in the top four.”
When asked how times have changed in the Premier League since he left Anfield six years ago, Parry said Liverpool’s challenge of being a constant presence in the top four is now more difficult.
“It’s different now because we had Chelsea to compete with and [Roman] Abramovich’s billions,” he continued.
“Now you’ve got Manchester City with very, very wealthy backers, you’ve got Manchester United and Arsenal who are hugely successful commercially, so it’s tougher now than it’s ever been, which is why the stadium expansion is all the more important.”
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