Government rejects Everton stadium plan

LONDON - Everton's planned move to a new stadium on the outskirts of the city of Liverpool has been rejected by the British government, the club said on Thursday.

Everton were part of a proposed 400-million-pound development to include a 50,000-capacity ground and a shopping complex in Kirkby.

Britain's communities and local government secretary John Denham rejected the plan after a public inquiry, on the grounds that it breached government policy which discourages major supermarket chains from taking business away from town and city centres.

"Obviously, we are all bitterly disappointed with the decision as we felt that - along with our two partners - we had compiled and presented a most compelling case for the Destination Kirby project," the club's chief executive Robert Elstone told www.evertonfc.com

"We will now regroup and carefully consider the options which are open to us. I feel I must stress that we do remain totally committed to finding a new home for our football club. The hunt for that new home will now intensify."

Earlier this year Everton's plans to redevelop their training ground to raise funds were also rejected. With city rivals Liverpool's plans for a new ground on hold because of financial concerns, the question of ground-sharing will be back on the agenda.

Everton host Liverpool at Goodison Park, their home since 1892, in the Premier League on Sunday.