Trust News

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

Jason Perry and Rob Phillips Host Cardiff City Roadshow Chat

Rob Phillips (left) with Trust chair Keith Morgan and Jason Perry (right) at a previous Trust roadshow

We’re delighted to announce that this year’s roadshow with outspoken Bluebirds legend Jason Perry and renowned BBC Wales soccer commentator, Rob Phillips will take place at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The boys are looking forward to giving their fascinating insight on all things Cardiff City. The 2023-24 season has seen the Bluebirds enjoy more success on the pitch after the relegation battles of the last couple of years with a number of youngsters from the club academy coming through into the first team.

The popular chat with Jason and Rob will follow the Trust AGM on Thursday, May 30th, which starts at 7.30pm. There is no admission charge.   

Trust Chair Keith Morgan said: “We’re delighted to have the use of the Cardiff City Stadium for this year’s AGM and roadshow and are grateful once again to Jason and Rob for fronting our fans’ forum.

“This has been a season of consolidation after two years of real struggle. Fans are more optimistic going forward and we hope the managerial situation will be resolved quickly so the club can press ahead with strengthening of the team. In our 125th year, it would be fantastic if the club could press on and aim for the Championship Play-offs.

“Members will  want to know Jason and Rob’s views on everything to do with Cardiff City, including the players the club should be aiming to sign and the areas of the team they see as most crucial for strengthening ready for the start of season 2024-25.”

You can join the Trust on the night for just £12 a year. So if you’re interested in signing up as a member, please book your place at members@ccfctrust.org. Come and join us on May 30th.

 

Fans’ Representatives Meet Senior Cardiff City Management

Trust chair Keith Morgan provided a briefing for members with club chairman Mehmet Dalman before kick-off at the Middlesbrough game.

Dear Member,

Prior to kick off Mehmet Dalman, Ken Choo, Steve Borley, Wayne Nash, Phillip Jenkins and Mark Denham met with members of the Trust Board and Fans Advisory Board

Mehmet was asked whether he considered the season to be a success. He stated that, given the position we were in last season coupled with a transfer embargo the possibility of finishing in the top 10 was beyond expectations . He thought that, under the circumstances, the last 2 transfer windows were more successful than anticipated.

The issue of an overall strategy for the club was raised. Mehmet conceded that a strategy for the club has been lacking in previous years but a path forward is now clearer with the appointment of an experienced manager and that it is important that this progress is continued. It was evident from the conversation that he is in favour of extending the contract of the current manager with whom he has had lengthy discussions specifically on the structure of coaching staff at all levels in the club, what areas of the team who need strengthening as well as resources to underpin this.

He confirmed that, contrary to rumours, at the moment, there are no discussions with any party in respect of the sale of the club. He also re-confirmed that Vincent Tan has not changed his position in that he will not sell the club to Sam Hammam or any organisation he may represent

Reference was made to the current litigation with Nantes. Mehmet confirmed that Chris Nott of Capital Law would provide an online briefing to members of the FAB and Trust Board in the forthcoming week.

Phillip Jenkins was asked and was able to confirm that the Club was on target to be compliant with Profit and Sustainability. Reference was made to the last transfer window when the Club were obliged to provide the EFL with projections with certain assumptions taking into account our transfer activity. EFL considerations of these projections were the main reason why our signings were so late in the window. Phillip confirmed that the assumptions included in those projections have proved to be correct.

The progress of the Academy was raised. Steve Borley confirmed that the physical facilities are of Category 1 quality. However, moving from our existing Category 2 status would need significant financial investment in terms of staff which, at the moment, is not feasible but the new improved facilities are attracting youngsters from further afield. Work would also be undertaken to improve pitch drainage. It was mentioned that we had recently lost a promising young player to the Manchester City Academy. Steve Borley commented that, in reality, there is little the club can do to prevent this when the inducements offered are so attractive. He said that the regulations in respect of compensation for such moves had not changed for many years and were not favourable to the club losing the player. The one thing the Club can do is ensure that its Academy is such that young players will want to stay.

Emphasis was made on the need to ensure that loans of City players to other clubs were suitable and that they were to Clubs at a high enough level to ensure that there is an opportunity to enhance their experience. Steve Borley stated that the current crop of youngsters is very encouraging in terms of the future and every effort would be made to ensure that loans, where necessary, are appropriate.

The meeting was unanimous in its opposition to the position taken on FA Cup replays by the FA and Premier League. This led to a wider discussion on the difficulties in dealing with the Premier League and their opposition, based on pure self-interest , to the appointment of the Independent Regulator of English Football.

Keith Morgan

Chair

Sala Court Case: Update

Trust chair Keith Morgan provides an update on Cardiff City Football Club’s (CCFC) claim against FC Nantes over the Emiliano Sala transfer.

I have previously provided Trust members with regular updates on this matter, and the linked issue of a legal action against the agent involved Willie McKay. Discussions with sources involved now enable me to provide the following further update.

FC Nantes` initial defence to Cardiff City`s damages claim in May last year was lodged in November and was considered by CCFC to be a very poor one as its basis was that Willie McKay did not act for them in the transfer and did nothing wrong.

Since the lodging of the defence CCFC commenced an action against Willie McKay to discover documentation and correspondence contradicting FC Nantes` defence claims. This action is not yet finalised but is progressing.

CCFC has now lodged a more detailed claim with the Commercial Court in Nantes setting out Willie McKay`s negligent actions leading to the fatal plane crash where Emiliano Sala tragically lost his life and why, under French law, his actions as their agent makes FC Nantes liable for CCFC`s consequent financial loss. The claim is in excess of Euros 100m.

Leading football analysts have forecast the probability of Cardiff City not being relegated if Sala had played at 54%-62%.

A judge is due to review the updated claim document tomorrow (Monday, April 22).

Keith Morgan, Chair

 

Trust Condemns Axing Of FA Cup Replays

Keith Morgan, Trust Chair

Trust chair Keith Morgan has written to members about the axing of FA Cup Replays from the 1st Round and the latest in the football governance bill’s progress through Parliament.

Dear Members

Axing FA Cup Replays

You will have read that the FA and Premier League have agreed to axe FA Cup replays without full consultation with the English Football League (EFL). This is outrageous.

We all know how important FA Cup runs are for smaller clubs and often save some from a financial crisis.

The way this change has been pushed through without any consideration of fans is simply not acceptable. Over 700 clubs enter the FA Cup, yet it seems the format is being dictated by the so-called Big Six or Seven. We suspect that many of their fans will also not support the action.

Replays are very much part of the history and magic of the FA Cup and for that to be removed from Round One is just not on. It treats smaller teams and fans with contempt.

I’ve been in touch with the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) to raise our concerns and they will be holding an emergency council meeting on Tuesday, April 23, to discuss the response of fans. They will be discussing a range of options for a protest.

Football Governance

Members will recall the involvement of the Trust in efforts to give fans a greater say in the running of clubs.

On Tuesday in Parliament, there is the second reading of the Bill that will also lead to the appointment of an Independent Regulator for our sport.

I’m pleased to say that the Bill has the support of both front benches of the two main political parties as well as MPs from smaller parties, so hopefully its path through Parliament will be smooth and become law before the forthcoming g UK General Election.

We are pleased that many of our local MPs are actively supporting the legislation.

 Keith Morgan

Chair