Members of the Trust Board Keith Morgan (chair), Tim Hartley and Rob Jeffery attended an online Zoom meeting on Monday, January 25, with Mehmet Dalman (Chairman) and Ken Choo (Chief Executive). Also represented at the meeting were the Supporters’ Club, Disabled Supporters’ Group, Travel Group, members of the local and national Press and other club officials. A wide variety of issues were raised and here are some of the outcomes of the meeting.
Here are key points:
Club Financial Position
MD/KC stated that the club, in the absence of spectators, has a cash drain of £3m per month and the annual loss was expected to be slightly more than £36m loss reported in the last set of accounts. The continuing financial support of Vincent Tan was essential in keeping the club afloat. KC stated that the club had applied to the EFL for a “soft loan” of £8m which they were waiting to hear about which has to be paid back by 2024. The club noted the fact that the Welsh Government was financially supporting Welsh Rugby but not Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newport County or Wrexham.
Appointment of Mick McCarthy
MD stated that the appointment of MM was a short term one to “steady the ship”. At the end of his term of appointment the club would make a decision on what sort of managerial appointment to make to build for the future. When a comment was made that the appointment lacked ambition MD stated that they had approached a young manager with Premier League experience but had been turned down. MD’s view was that the appointment was a realistic one in the circumstances.
MD was asked whether the club had a strategy in relation to on and off-field continuity that would avoid “sticking plaster” problem resolution. MD freely admitted that they did not but the appointment of MM would buy them time to put one in place. KC emphasised their commitment to continue working in partnership with Cardiff University and Cardiff Council in the development of Academy facilities in Llanrumney. KC also outlined other changes that they had made at the various youth levels to confirm the club’s commitment to the development of players. He also confirmed that Academy Head of Coaching David Hughes would be allowed to continue his development independent of first team matters. When the possibility of bringing in at board level a Director of Football with significant experience MD was lukewarm about the idea. MD/KC said that age was one of the factors that influenced recent transfers and the average age of the squad was now 27 and 7 months. Neil Harris was fully involved in the last two transfers.
The current kit deal expires this season and the club has started talks with 5 possible alternative manufacturers as well.
Season Tickets 2012-22
KC confirmed that no decision had yet been reached in terms of season tickets for next season.
Further Squad Strengthening
The current lack of midfield creativity was raised. MD had asked MM about the situation regarding the squad. MM said that he would assess the squad and feedback his views to MD as soon as possible. MD did not indicate the extent to which the manager would be supported but did not rule it out.
Vincent Tan Conversion of Debt to Equity
The issue of the five-year deadline for the promised conversion of debt to equity will be in February 2021. The meeting recognised that VT had taken significant steps towards this goal had been made. However, KC confirmed that no further conversions had been made since the last set of accounts, which considering the degree of financial support VT is having to make in the current difficult year, is unsurprising.
Issue of Vincent Tan Continuing Ownership
MD received this question with a degree of impatience. He stated that VT had received offers to buy the club, one of which he considered to be generous but was turned down by VT. He underlined VT’s continuing commitment to Cardiff City.
Emiliano Sala Trust Fund
MD stated that the finalisation of the Fund was only a matter of weeks away. He emphasised Vincent Tan’s personal commitment to the family which he considered to be totally absent in other parties involved in the transfer.
MD reminded everyone that the Club is involved in 3 major legal cases. MD said that all 3 cases were energy-sapping and took up a lot of time.
- Emiliano Sala Transfer. MD stated that progress was slow as Nantes FC were doing everything in their power to drag out proceedings. The club, having raised the issue of Football Agent’s conflict of interest with the Regulatory Body, have been frustrated by their seeming disinterest in what they consider to be an important issue.
- Sam Hammam – He is suing the club for £15m over his role of Life President which the club regard as largely ceremonial but Hamman considers ought to have more powers and rights.
- Michael Isaac is suing the club for £10m, which he believes is the value of his shareholding.
He reminded everyone that any loss of these court cases (totalling the best part of £50m) would have to be footed by VT and without that support would lead to club bankruptcy.