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Blackpool FC’s appointment of a receiver: the background, regulatory framework and what comes next for club & fans

Football Players
Friday, 14 June 2019 By Matthew Astley, James Robbins

On 13 February this year, the High Court appointed a receiver to realise the assets of Blackpool Football Club (Properties) Limited (Blackpool Properties).1 Blackpool Properties is the majority shareholder of Blackpool FC and owns, amongst other things, Bloomfield Road and the club’s training ground.

This article:

  1. Explains the background to the appointment of a receiver, including:

    1. an extensive summary of the original dispute between the shareholders of Blackpool FC; and

    2. a summary of developments since the handing down of the judgment up to the appointment of a receiver on 13 February.

  2. Explains the position under:

    1. general company and insolvency law, and

    2. the English Football League’s (EFL’s) rules on “Insolvency Events” (including the potential sanctions and appeals process); and

  3. Analyses the next steps and practical implications for Blackpool FC and its stakeholders, both in terms of the general law and its position pursuant to EFL rules, and in the context of the recent news that Simon Sadler has acquired a 96.2% interest in the club.2

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Written by

Matthew Astley

Matthew Astley

Solicitor, Harrison Drury & Co

Matthew has a multi-disciplinary practice encompassing employment, regulatory, commercial litigation and sports matters. He is the founding head of Harrison Drury’s Sports Sector team.

Matthew has experience in sports dispute resolution matters, including arbitrations and subsequent appeals to the courts. Recent work includes Fleetwood Wanderers Ltd (t/a Fleetwood Town Football Club) v AFC Fylde Ltd [2018] EWHC 3318 (Comm) (30 November 2018).

Matthew also has experience in a wide range of sports regulatory and disciplinary matters, including in football, cycling and rugby league. He has been appointed as a Community Game Discipline Panel Member by the Rugby Football League.

Matthew is a former professional rugby league player, having come through the academy ranks at Wigan Warriors before later signing for Leigh Centurions

Tel. 01772 258321

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James Robbins

James Robbins

Solicitor, Harrison Drury & Co

James specialises in insolvency law and is dual-qualified as a solicitor and insolvency practitioner. He acts for insolvency practitioners, as well as creditors, directors and other stakeholders, and has particular expertise in dealing with claims against directors, director disqualification proceedings and a range of technical insolvency matters. James is also a season ticket holder at Burnley FC.

Tel. 01772 258321

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