Hicks/Gillett to pursue damages

MIAMI - Liverpool's American co-owners pledged on Friday to use all legal means to secure damages of at least $1.6 billion after dropping a temporary restraining order designed to block the sale of the Premier League club.

Liverpool's board hope to go ahead with the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) but in a statement Tom Hicks and George Gillett called the proposed deal "illegal" and "an extraordinary swindle."

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The statement also said the pair had offered to pay outstanding debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland but that attempt was rejected.

"It's an extraordinary swindle and it will result in exactly the wrong thing for the Club and the fans," said the statement.

"This outcome not only devalues the Club but it also will result in long-term uncertainty for the fans, players and everyone who loves this sport because all legal recourses will be pursued," said Steve Stodghill, the Texas attorney representing the Liverpool owners.

The restraining order imposed by a Dallas court was withdrawn on Friday - meeting the requirements of a High Court ruling on Thursday.

Liverpool still has a deadline on Friday to clear debts with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The statement said that the American co-owners had offered to do that.

"Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett pledged to pay the debt to RBS so that the Club could avoid administration that was threatened by RBS. That offer was rejected.

"It is a tragic development that others will claim as a victory. This means it won't be resolved the way it should be resolved. My clients worked tirelessly to resolve these issues but RBS would not listen to any reasonable solution and the Directors acted selfishly and illegally."

A spokesman for the Royal Bank of Scotland was not immediately available for comment.

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