LONDON Everton's plan to move to a new stadium alongside the River Mersey moved a step forward when the Premier League club announced on Thursday a finance model to buy land at Bramley Moore Dock.
Their billionaire owner Farhad Moshiri has thrown his backing behind the proposed move away from Everton's Goodison Park ground where they have played since 1892.
The site, owned by Peel Holdings and part of a 5 billion-pound ($6.26 billion) Liverpool Waters scheme, was announced as the club's preferred site for a 300 million-pound stadium in January.
"Over the past year, the club has worked with the support of the Council and we are grateful for the 'can-do' approach that has got us to this important milestone," Everton chief executive Robert Elstone said in a statement.
"We are delighted that we have been able to agree Heads of Terms with Peel, giving us control of the Bramley Moore Dock site and allowing us the time we need to complete the substantial further work required to be able to confirm the project's viability."
Any move still appears to be a long way off, however, with Elstone saying significant hurdles remain including the preparation and submission of a detailed planning application.
Goodison Park holds 39,572 fans compared to Liverpool's newly-enlarged Anfield stadium which can accommodate 54,000.
Everton's previous attempts to build a new stadium - at King's Dock in 2003 and Kirkby in 2009 - both ended in failure.
($1 = 0.7988 pounds)
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)