By Nick Harris
22 September 2010
Kenny Huang, the New York-based Chinese businessman who showed an interest in bidding for Liverpool (historic Huang stories here) before ending his interest without explanation on 20 August, is still scheduled to appear at a major sports conference in London next month, where the media will be given the chance to quiz him publicly on his interest in Liverpool and his sudden withdrawal, organisers of the conference have told sportingintelligence today.
The Global Sport Summit conference, organised by Economist Conferences in association with America’s NFL, will take place on 29 October at Grosvenor House in London, two days before the NFL’s annual International Series game at Wembley, which this year will feature the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Summit is “exclusively reserved”, according to the event’s pre-publicity, “for 100 of the most influential figures in global sport”, and the cast of guests is indeed heavyweight in places: Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner and consequently one of the most powerful men in global sport, will be there, as will various major sports franchise owners from the USA, and Sir Clive Woodward, and Ian Ritchie (of the All England Club, and Football League), and the BBC’s director of sport, Barbara Slater.
Last year’s conference was attended by most of the NFL owners, including the Glazers (Man Utd), Stan Kroenke (Arsenal) and Robert Kraft (New England Patriots and one-time Liverpool suitor himself).
Typically the conference, in its fourth year, has had one open session but been closed to the media otherwise.
This year the whole conference will be open to the media and on the record, according to an NFL spokesman. So Kenny Huang – invited to speak before he showed any interest in Liverpool, on the subject of “the Chinese consumer” in sport – will be expected to take questions from the floor, including from the Press.
“Whether he answers or not is obviously up to him,” the NFL spokesman said. “But certainly we intend there to be an opportunity to discuss areas of interest.”
The conference should therefore present the first opportunity for Huang to explain the background to his interest, whether the CIC sovereign wealth fund was ever really involved with him or not, why he withdrew his interest in Liverpool without explanation, and other issues surrounding his interest. It would also give him the chance to voice his feelings on the sale process, if he chooses.