EVERTON owner Farhad Moshiri has agreed to sell the club to the controversial American company 777 Partners.
But tougher Premier League regulations could still block the £500million takeover, which is likely to take MONTHS to complete.
Moshiri yesterday announced a deal for the Miami-based investment group to acquire his 94.1 per cent controlling stake in the Toffees.
But Government officials have expressed concerns over whether 777’s managing partner Josh Wander would pass the Prem owners’ and directors’ test.
In an open letter to shareholders, Moshiri declared: “I have been clear about the need to bring in new investment and complete the financing of our iconic new stadium.
“The requirement for this has only become more apparent as we continue to see rapid changes in the nature of ownership of top clubs.
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“Through my lengthy discussions with 777, I firmly believe they are the best partners to take our great club forward with all the benefits of their multi-club investment model.”
But investigations into 777, and whether they have the funds to finance the deal, will take months.
There are concerns over their involvement in court cases in the USA, in addition to Wander pleading no contest for drug offences in 2003.
Sister company Sutton Park have been accused of multiple cases of fraud and racketeering, offering illegal loans and failing to pay bills totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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In March, Premier League chiefs announced they intend to become stricter with potential new owners.
Criminal offences resulting in disqualification include violence, corruption, fraud and tax evasion.
Prem lawyers and accountants will also want to see proof of finance.
The 777 Partners group have controlling interests in Genoa, Vasco da Gama, Melbourne Victory, Standard Liege, Red Star (France) and Hertha Berlin.
But over the last year the combined losses at their clubs total around £200m. Everton have lost £430m in the past four years and need around £300m more to complete their new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium.
Despite growing doubts that a sale will go through, Wander insisted: “We are truly humbled by the opportunity to become part of the Everton family.”
But an Everton Shareholders Association statement stressed: “Receiving a few minutes’ warning of the proposed change is disappointing — owner and club continue to treat shareholders and fans with disdain.”
Everton boss Sean Dyche said: “I know there are ongoing checks from the Premier League and the like so that will take time.
“It’s not that big a deal to myself or the players.”
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