It is well-documented that, based upon our own interpretation of the Owners and Directors Test (‘ODT’), the EFL should have banned Owen Oyston from owning Blackpool FC based upon his historic conviction for rape.
Our interpretation was of course shared by the EPL who confirmed that Owen failed their equivalent test back in 2010 and demanded that he sell his controlling interest in the club. Regrettably however they failed to follow up on this until it was too late – relegation loomed and the problem solved itself.
As ‘ illegitimately stripping ‘ a football club of its assets isn’t actionable under the ODT we have over the last 12 months or so repeatedly pressed the EFL to apply their own rules in an attempt to force Owen into a position where he had to sell Blackpool.
The EFL’s response both at the meeting with Shaun Harvey last March and thereafter has been to claim that the ODT is not to be applied retrospectively. We disagree and believe the EFL have misinterpreted their own rules – the ‘not to be retrospectively applied‘ only seems to relate to insolvency offences, not unspent convictions of 12 months or more and/or those who are registered offenders as defined by the rules.
All attempts to persuade the EFL to review their position have so far been unsuccessful. Similarly we have found it difficult to secure the support of the ‘ heavyweight ‘ national journalists to pursue the issue as they seem to be reluctant to take the EFL to task in view of the confusion over what the ODT actually says on this point.
Following a suggestion put forward on social media, we have looked into the option of commissioning an expert in sports law to provide a written opinion on the discrete point of the EFL’s position regarding the application of the ODT to the case of Owen and Blackpool FC.
We have recently approached an organisation called Sports Resolutions who have confirmed that they are willing to task one of their Panel Arbitrators to provide that opinion. We’ve specifically approach this organisation because of its pre-eminent position in the world of sport and more specifically football. The EFL themselves have used Sports Resolutions in the past and we think it would be difficult therefore for the EFL to summarily dismiss such expert opinion
We also believe the national journalists will be more likely to start asking their own questions of the EFL if we supply them with a definitive legal opinion on the EFL’s interpretation of the ODT.
Assuming we wanted to instruct a QC the cost is estimated at £2000 – a lot of money.
So at this stage we are looking to canvass opinions on what we should do.
Is this an initiative fans would like to see pursued and, if so, is this something that BST should take a lead on? If the answer to that is yes how should it be funded?
The funding options as we see them are:
1/ BST reserves – this would require prior authorisation from the membership in view of the cost. We’d need to put it to the vote and that could take time.
2/ Crowdfunding – fans could ‘chip in’ and when we’ve raised sufficient funds we’d instruct Sport Resolutions to proceed.
3/ One or more businesses / individuals might sponsor the initiative.
Feedback on the principle of whether BST should pursue this further and the appropriate funding option is requested to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the interests of time, this matter is being aired on social media now but the above information will be included in BST’s January Newsletter to all members early next week.
Difficult to say really. Not sure fans would be willing to put money into something that won't really force change at BFC. What happens to the money if the fans raise only 1k although Blackpool fans are pretty good at clubbing together.
Ideally number 3 but not sure who would sponsor such an initiative.
Might come across as a bit negative. It would be nice if, as a result, the EFL acknowledge the shortfalls in their framework but even if they did, they would still never get involved in the BFC saga.
Obviously I'm no legal expert so this just an opinion from your average Joe. I support BST in whatever they decide.
Why? Even if this long process was ever to be successful, by the time it actually gets implimented Owen Oyston will have been cremated and the club will be owned by Natalie Christopher anyway so it won't make the slightest difference.
Might as well spend the £2000 on a drone and crash it in to a wall.