For most people, the only thing common to communist China and the English Premier League club Liverpool is the colour red. Now it seems that there may be a stronger connection in the pipeline.
The rumours are that the state-affiliated Chinese Investment Corporation is backing a 46-year-old head of Hong Kong company QSL Sports Ltd, Kenny Huang, who has offered to pay the £237 million (Rs 1,737 crore) that Liverpool owe their bank.
This would, say experts, give him not sole ownership but “a ridiculously large amount of leverage” to wrest control of the club from current owners American sports entrepreneurs George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
But two days after the story appeared in British papers, the sovereign wealth fund body to the communist state has denied the rumour going as far as to say that it has “never heard of Mr Huang”.
Huang, however, reconfirmed he is interested in assuming control one of English football’s most historic clubs.
According to observers, if Huang manages to stave off a rival bid by Syrian businessman Yahya Birdi, Liverpool could ‘go Chinese’.
The Chinese Investment Corporation manages a £188 billion (Rs 1,378,000 crore) portfolio and its covert backing of Huang has raised concerns over the role of the Chinese government in the attempted takeover bid.
But Liverpool, which has the second biggest ‘Chinatown’ in the world after San Francisco, may not be hostile at all to the Chinese bid.
Many supporters point out it may be better than being owned by a Gulf or North American enterprise.