Belgian club are owned by US firm linked with Everton takeover

Standard Liège, the Belgian club owned by turmoil-hit US investment group 777 Partners, were forced to postpone their league game on Friday after protesting fans blocked the team coach from reaching the stadium.

Fans of Standard, 10-time Belgian champions, have stepped up protests this season against Miami-based 777, whose legal and financial worries have led to the club currently being under another temporary transfer embargo.

The club were due to host Westerlo at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne on Friday evening with three rounds left in the Belgian league. Standard finished 10th in the regular-season table to qualify for the European preliminary playoffs, but have failed to win any of their seven matches since.

The team bus was impeded at the training centre and “attempts at discussions with these supporters did not find a solution to lift the blockage,” a club statement said. “Standard Liège deeply regrets this situation and apologises to KVC Westerlo as well as to the supporters of both camps present at the stadium this evening.”

777 Partners have also invested in Serie A side Genoa, German second-tier side Hertha Berlin and Vasco da Gama in Brazil. Their most ambitious move, an attempt to buy Premier League club Everton, has stalled for months with fears the storied English side could face administration.