Kraft came close to Reds
Pats boss backed out of reds deal due to financial worry of Premier League
By Neil Reynolds. Last Updated: July 16, 2012 10:40am
Robert Kraft: Came close to buying Liverpool
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has admitted that the Premier League's lack of a level financial playing field put him off buying Liverpool in 2005 and has deterred him from making another move when being linked with the Merseyside club in recent years.
Kraft is one of the most powerful and successful owners in American sports and his Patriots have reached six Super Bowls and won three NFL titles since he took charge of the club in 1994.
But the billionaire businessman was not convinced he could replicate that kind of success at Anfield without the NFL's salary cap, revenue sharing and draft system and decided not to follow the likes of Stan Kroenke (St. Louis Rams and Arsenal), Malcolm Glazer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United) and Randy Lerner (Cleveland Browns and Aston Villa) into Premier League ownership.
Speaking during a promotional tour of London ahead of his Patriots taking on Kroenke's St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium on Sunday October 28, Kraft admitted: "We came very close to a deal. I love the game of soccer and David Moores and I bonded.
"But, in the end, I want to be able to compete at the highest level. Just look at what's happened this year with Manchester City - they lose hundreds of millions of pounds but they win the championship. And then there are teams like Chelsea.
"I didn't want to be in a league where I can't compete. I don't want to be in a situation where people are coming in and throwing money at things."
While Manchester City put Sheikh Mansour's fortune to good use and became just the fifth team to lift the Premier League trophy since 1992, the NFL has churned out 12 different Super Bowl winners during that same period.
Kraft's own Patriots, operating within a more structured financial budget, have won three Super Bowls in the past decade.
"One good thing about the NFL is that there is competitive balance and parity," Kraft stressed. "Fans in every community feel they have a shot.
"I loved the fan base at Liverpool. They're like our fans in New England in that they're loyal and good, but I felt that no matter how good an operator I was or how good we were at picking talent, I don't want to be in a business where people can just throw money and out-bid me.
"We could have bought the team before the last two sets of owners but sometimes the best decisions you make are the ones you don't make.
"The best deals are the deals you don't do. I would never want to disappoint that fan base, who have such high expectations. It was with great sadness that it didn't happen."
In addition to owning the Patriots, Kraft also owns Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.