Trust News

Jonathan Hicks: New board member

Name: Jonathan Hicks

Live in: Barry

What do you do for a living? Retired headteacher, owner of property investment company and, more recently, a music promoter. I am also a writer and historian.

Why did you join the Trust? To act as a conduit between the fans and the club, and, given my background, to champion the voice of younger supporters.

Why would you encourage fans to join the Trust? If you don’t give your opinions, then the club can’t listen to your voice. The Trust belongs to you. Please use it.

Why did you seek election to the Trust Board? So I can support the Board and bring a fresh voice and perspective to our work.

What is your aim for the Trust over the next 12 months? To recruit a larger number of younger members, boost the female membership and ensure the club meets the requirements of the

proposed new supporters’ legislation.

How long have you supported City? Since I was taken to my first City game in 1968. I have seen the highs and lows but have never lost the faith.

What was your favourite City match? The 1976 win over Hereford in the old Third Division. What an atmosphere!

Who is your favourite City player/s? My all-time favourite is Nathan Blake.

Companies House And Cardiff City FC

Trust chair Keith Morgan sent the following message to members.

Dear Member,

All UK Companies are obliged in law to update their records at Companies House for relevant changes such as accounts updates and changes in Directors or security over their assets. We as a Trust monitor Cardiff City filings at Companies House to see if any changes have occurred. You will recall that, in the past, we have notified you of changes at Companies House, in relation, to the club such as filing of annual accounts, share issues, conversions of debt to equity etc.

We have noted that a Legal Charge, created in September 2009, regarding two leases for 125 years between the Council and the Club in respect of the “Football Stadium at Leckwith Road, Cardiff and the Coach Park and Hotel Site” has now been satisfied in full and removed as an existing charge from the register. Some members also spotted this on the Companies House website and contacted the Trust to ascertain the situation.

I have made enquiries with the club and in this case, the charge was granted to Cardiff County Council in September 2009 in respect of funding they provided to the football club in 2007 to assist with the initial costs of building the Cardiff City Stadium. The funding was provided by means of a loan to be repaid over a 20-year period.

In February 2024 the loan was fully repaid slightly ahead of the 20-year anniversary so the charge over the new stadium lease could be released and the Companies House records were subsequently updated in May 2024.

Cardiff City Football Club has a 150-year lease starting in 2009 over the stadium granted by the Council as landlords. Rent payable is a “peppercorn” i.e., nominal amount.

The amount of loan in question has not been revealed and the Club is under no obligation to do so. Referring back to the 2007 accounts a figure of £83,372 is shown as a loan from the Council but I cannot absolutely confirm that this is the figure. However, whatever the amount, it is an early repayment of a loan to the Club in respect of Stadium construction costs and should be viewed positively.

We will continue to monitor Companies House activities in respect of the Club and will endeavour to keep you informed of any other changes.

 

 

Vincent Tan Under Fire Over Delayed Managerial Appointment

Jason Perry and Rob Phillips with Trust Chair Keith Morgan

There was an enthusiastic turnout last night for the Jason and Rob Show after the Trust’s annual general meeting at the Cardiff City Stadium.

We’re very grateful to Cardiff City legend Jason Perry and BBC Wales’ football commentator Rob Phillips for coming along to discuss all things Cardiff City.

Jason pulled no punches about the club’s owner Vincent Tan, saying the failure to appoint a football person as a director of football continued to hamper the progress of the club. He said the club didn’t have a plan and he argued that Cardiff City was now only a really attractive proposition manager-wise to someone that was young or desperate because of the way the club was run.

Jason said the issue of pace desperately needed to be addressed and while he accepted that a lot of money had been wasted in the past, there was a need to give the manager funds for the new season.

Despite the criticism of Vincent Tan, his financial backing over many years for the football club was acknowledged.

Both Jason and Rob agreed that Erol Bulut should be reappointed as manager and Rob said that he had expected an agreement to have been concluded months ago. He still felt that the appointment of Bulut would be made.

Jason said that he believed Bulut guaranteed Championship football – despite the owner – and described him as a safe pair of hands who had done well to take the club to 12th in the table despite concerns over the style of football. Rob pointed to team performances away from home and contrasted them to those at home.

They both praised Joe Ralls for his contribution to the club, both on and off the field, while they tackled concerns over the injury record of Aaron Ramsey.

While accepting the injury situation was disappointing, Rob pointed to the fact that others had also been injured for long periods of the season, such as Calum O’Dowda. Rob also pointed to Aaron Ramsey’s appearance record at Nice in the 2022=23 season when he had played more games for the French club and Wales than at any time since his last season at Arsenal. Rob said a fit Ramsey would make a huge difference to Cardiff City as had been shown early in the 2023-24 season.

Talk moved to possible departures which could free up funds and it was felt that it would be a good time to cash in on Perry NG after his outstanding season but the funds needed to be reinvested.

A raffle was held at the evening and £160 was raised for a local foodbank.

Trust Statement on Cardiff City Manager Situation

Keith Morgan. Trust Chair

Trust chair Keith Morgan today issued the following statement to members amid the growing uncertainty over the managerial situation at the club.

Dear Member,

You will recall that I emailed you on 6th April regarding the situation in respect of the position of Manager. In that email I informed you that, at that time, the decision regarding the future of Erol Bulut had been in the hands of Vincent Tan for some time. The Trust made no observations as to who should be appointed to the post only that a decision should be made speedily to remove uncertainties and disquiet amongst fans.
Well, here we are, more than 7 weeks later with no sign of any progress on this issue. There has been little or no meaningful information from the club on this matter leading to rumour, speculation and frustration amongst the fanbase.
The absence of footballing expertise at board level and the intransigence of Vincent Tan in his views on the appointment of a Director of Football or similar continues to be a concern, especially in the current circumstances.
I think it is fair to say that an extended contract for the current manager does not necessarily have 100% support amongst the fans. There are concerns over style of football and tactics but there seems to be a degree of unanimity amongst the fanbase that the current situation is unacceptable and should be resolved one way or another as soon as possible.

Keith Morgan
Chair

Fans’ Representatives Meet Lawyers Over Nantes Sala Claim

Note of Online Meeting with Cardiff City Legal Advisors – 14 May 2024

Present – Legal Advisers to Cardiff City FC, Cardiff City Staff, Cardiff City Supporters Trust Board Members and Fans Advisory Board Members

 

In order to update those present on the current status of the legal case against FC Nantes the presentation was divided in to 3 parts

1.       FIFA proceedings instigated by FC Nantes

2.      CCFC Claim against FC Nantes

3.      Case against Willie McKay

Firstly, the proceedings brought by FC Nantes against the Club for non-payment of the transfer fee are a matter of history now. It was considered by FIFA, the Court of Arbitration in Sport and the Swiss Federal Tribunal. As we know the Club was not successful but a critical part of the Club’s defence against the claim i.e. the fact that the fatal crash was organised by those acting for FC Nantes,was not considered by the Court for Arbitration in Sport as it was not within their jurisdiction. A decision that was upheld by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

The Club then paid the first instalment of the transfer fee and, as we know, is now paid in full plus interest.

The decision was made to lodge a legal claim against FC Nantes who have waged a significant PR campaign in France emphasising that they have won all previous court cases and had decisions upheld but conveniently ignoring the fact that the key part of the CCFC’s defence i.e. FC Nantes culpability in arranging the fatal flight had yet to be contested in Court. An observation was made that, currently, the more informed sections of the French Press take a balanced view in their attitude towards the pending legal case, nevertheless, the FC Nantes campaign continues.

The decision to bring the claim in Nantes itself was made as being the best place to do so and also show that CCFC was not afraid to pursue the matter on “home territory”

The critical part of the CCFC claim that the flight in question was organised by Willie McKay who was acting for FC Nantes. They strongly deny that he was acting for them. It is a Criminal Offence in France to act as a football agent whilst unlicensed. At the time Willie McKay had lost his FIFA Agent Licence to practise as a Licenced Intermediary due to his status as an undischarged bankrupt. It was pointed out that, in the vast majority of cases, bankruptcy usually lasts for a period of 12 months but in the case of Willie McKay it was 5 years because of how he conducted himself during it..

His son, Mark McKay was the FC Nantes recognised agent as part of a Company called Mercato Sports UK Ltd which also involved Willie McKay’s wife at Director Level. This Company was eventually struck off the Companies House register in April 2023 for non-filing of Accounts. It is also worth mentioning that Mark McKay was a Director of a Company called Excelfoot which was put into compulsory liquidation by the Scottish Courts for non-payment of tax debts.

The financial claim against FC Nantes has several strands including the transfer fee, financial impact of relegation including loss of profit, valuation of players, valuation of the Club etc. To support this the Club has employed Forensic Accountants and firms employing data analysis of probabilities. For example, as part of their brief, they looked at specific games during the Premier League season where a difference might have been made had the tragedy not occurred and Emiliano Sala played. The analytical outcome of these exercises was that there was a 62% probability that we would have secured the additional points to stay up. This, apparently, is as high as it gets in these exercises.

Also prominent amongst the experts employed by CCFC is the leading and much respected French firm Sorgem Évaluation who specialise in providing financial expertise for cases at all levels of the French Judicial System including the French Supreme Court for Civil and Criminal Cases (Cour de Cassation). The claim in total is €120.2m. The claim will be heard in Nantes in a Commercial Court in front of elected Judges who are businessmen, not lawyers. In this court, the analytical exercise carried out by those acting for CCFC is a standard procedure and the evidence will be given due consideration in determining the outcome.

The Club’s claim is lodged in the French Court and FC Nantes has until September to reply to the Club’s latest brief which it submitted last month. On receipt of their response, the Court will decide if the case is ready to be tried and if so, is likely to be heard in early 2025. Whatever the outcome the likelihood of appeal is high.

In order to provide evidence to support their claim that Willie McKay was acting for Nantes when the tragic flight was organised the Club took Civil Proceedings against McKay to obtain electronic messages and documentation relating to the Sala Transfer from his devices.. Despite being quoted in the Press that he had reached “a settlement” with the Club over this issue, he did not comply and further Court action was required. The Club have already recovered significant information relating to his activity as a representative of FC Nantes which has been included in the evidence submission. On 15 May, following an application from the Club the Court ordered McKay, and his son Mark McKay, to hand over further documentation which, when it is complied with, will be included as an addendum to existing evidence. It was also pointed out that, McKay faces Contempt proceedings for his continued non-compliance in this matter. This hearing is set to take place in Cardiff in July 2024. He is also liable for a significant amount of the Club’s legal costs as the action continues.

The matter of the involvement of Insurers from the perspective of FC Nantes was raised and it was stated that the Club and their Legal Advisors are not aware of their position in respect of insurance. The question of mediation was mentioned and the meeting was told that the attitude to mediation in the French Judicial System is very different to that in the UK. In France, there is no formal mediation process prior to a trial and such an exercise is not common practice.

Reference was made to an investigation in France into FC Nantes President Waldemar Kita and his son Franck into accusations of illegal practice of the activity of a players agent, forgery, misuse of corporate assets, money laundering of aggravated tax evasion and organised money laundering. It was pointed out that this is a French criminal investigation running in parallel to the Civil case brought by the Club but any outcomes may be helpful to the Cardiff City case.

Keith Morgan

Chair

CCST