Over the weekend, the rumors started mounting: Tom Hicks had approached Grandhi Mallikarjun Rao -- a builder of Indian infrastructure whose wealth ranks him among the world's wealthiest 200 -- about buying at least a piece of Liverpool FC. Folks close to the owner of the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars deny such talks are taking place. Besides, observers don't think now's the right time to buy: Hicks and co-owner George Gillett owe close to $500 million to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia in July, at which point the cash-strapped owners might be willing to part with their investment at a relatively deep discount in order to skip that particular check.
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Hicks, of course, has his own issues much closer to home, having willfully defaulted on $10 million in interest payments on $525 million in loans as he tries to restructure a new deal with his lenders and find partners for the Rangers and Stars. (He recently referred to both franchises as "two strong long-term investments for the right people," if only he could find them.) But the English government has taken a particular interest in Liverpool FC's state of financial affairs. Last week Parliament released a report in which some MPs fretted about the fate of the Premier League, and according to this Associated Press Q&A today, the report accuses "Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea -- the top three teams in the Premier League -- of 'financial doping,' or reckless borrowing to maintain their domination."