The High Court in Manchester has handed down judgment in the first instalment of the high-profile legal dispute between the owners of Blackpool Football Club.
The Court found that the defendant (a company controlled by the Club's majority owners, the Oyston family) had failed properly to share stadium revenues with a company owned by Club President and 20% shareholder Valeri Belokon. In particular, the Court found that revenue had wrongly been withheld to recoup capital expenditure on the stadium by the defendant, which was never authorised by Mr Belokon, and that deductions had wrongly been made in respect of the losses of a separate Oyston-controlled hotel company. The Oystons' case that a relevant agreement between the parties had been reached, at Claridge's Hotel, was rejected.
The defendant was ordered to pay £425,000 on account of the claimant's costs pending assessment. Pending the taking of a full account, the claimant is currently applying for an interim payment on account of outstanding debts, in the sum of around £1m. An unfair prejudice petition brought by Mr Belokon, in respect of the Oystons' management of the Club since 2010, is listed for a 5 week hearing in the Companies Court in London this summer.
Andrew Green QC and Fraser Campbell, instructed by Jeremy Sandelson and Chris Yates of Clifford Chance, acted for the claimant in the Manchester proceedings, and act for the petitioner in the unfair prejudice proceedings.