Carillion preferred for Liverpool FC stand - but contract could be less than Luis Suarez transfer

 
Nassos Stylianou
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Could redeveloping Anfield cost less than Luis Suarez? (Source: Getty)

Support services and construction firm Carillion has been appointed as the preferred bidder for the expansion of Liverpool Football Club's main stand - for around the price the club hopes to receive from selling disgraced striker Luis Suarez.

The project, which is subject to planning consent, is estimated to be worth in the region of £75m and expected to start later this year, taking 20 months to complete.

The proposal is set to increase the capacity at Liverpool's iconic Anfield stadium by more than 8,000 to 54,000. The remodelling of the main stand will constitute phase one of the redevelopment plan for the ground.

Capacity for the Anfield Road stand will rise by a further 4,000 as part of the second phase set to begin after 2016, which the club hopes can ensure it keeps up with rivals Manchester United in terms of match-day revenues.

Initial plans to build a new stadium at Stanley Park or go into a ground share with city rivals Everton have been shelved in favour of redeveloping Anfield. The Liverpool Echo has reported that part of the proposal involves an attempt to secure permission to incorporate eight exclusive apartments within the extended Anfield Road stand.

Resolving the stadium issue could be the defining moment of the Fenway Sports Group era and has been an important area where previous club owners have failed to deliver.

Speaking last week, chief executive Ian Ayre insisted that the club would not have to offload any players to raise funds for the stadium redevelopment, however with Liverpool executives believed to be in talks with Spanish giants Barcelona over the proposed transfer of Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, this could provide a significant boost to the Merseyside club.

Liverpool officials are believed to be demanding £80m for Suarez even after the striker received a four-month ban from all footballing activity for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chielini last week during a World Cup game between the two sides.

Carillion, whose projects include London's Battersea Power Station, says as much as possible of the existing main stand will be in operational use throughout the contract.

“I believe that being selected for this prestigious project reflect Carillion’s reputation for high standards of quality, health and safety and sustainability," said Carillion chief executive Richard Howson.

“We looking forward to working closely with Liverpool Football Club to create new world-class facilities at its famous Anfield Stadium.”.

In a separate trading update today, Carillion announced it was on track to meet expectations for 2014. The firm has been awarded a host of contracts in the past two months including a £1.7bn deal to manage the UK government's military housing estate.

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