Press article – re General Meeting

From the South Wales Echo

FAN power looks to have won the day at Cardiff City with the club seemingly agreeing to a meeting of shareholders.

With financial uncertainty surrounding the Bluebirds the Cardiff City Supporter’s Trust had been looking to force chairman Peter Ridsdale and his fellow board members into outlining the extent of any problems the club is labouring under.

The Trust had been working on getting a group of small shareholders together to force an Extraordinary General Meeting at which the club would have to provide an up to date set of accounts and outline its future financial strategy.

The Trust was well on its way to securing the holders of five per cent of total shares in the club needed to force that meeting, but now the board has verbally agreed to hold a general meeting after an initial request from the supporter’s organisation.

It is understood in a telephone call to the Trust, Cardiff City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd secretary and board member Alan Whiteley verbally agreed to holding the meeting.

The Cardiff board will discuss the decision this week with a formal response expected before the end of the week.

From that formal announcement the club will then have to hold the general meeting within 21 days.

The Trust is hoping that meeting will be held sooner rather than later given the grave financial situation the club is facing.

Cardiff are still to pay a £2.7m tax bill or face the prospect of a winding up order being issued by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs at the High Court on February 10.

Ridsdale maintains the situation will be sorted and that the club continues to trade as normal.

But on the pitch manager Dave Jones has been unable to bring in any new faces to bolster his squad’s Premiership promotion push before the outstanding tax bill is settled.

The club still maintain up to four new players will arrive before the January transfer window closes at the end of the month.

With total debts of almost £30m still enveloping the club and little information being made public, Cardiff City Supporter’s Trust chairman Paul Corkrey said a meeting of the club’s shareholders was vital.

He said many Bluebirds fans were afraid the very future of Cardiff City was on the line and welcomed the decision by the club to agree to the Trust’s request.

“We take this verbal agreement by the club to hold a general meeting as a positive step,” said Mr Corkrey.

“We were confident of enough shareholders agreeing to force a meeting, but that the club looks likely to accept our original request is something we most definitely welcome.

“There is no mischief-making or anything from our side, but given the current situation supporters are quite rightly concerned about the future of their football club.

“We want to use this meeting to give the club the chance to outline the current, short-term and long-term financial plans they have in place.

“You cannot have a business plan at Cardiff City based on things that might or might not happen.

“We want see a financial structure in place at Cardiff City which does not rely on takeovers of the club or getting promoted.

“You cannot run things like that.

“A general meeting would give the club the opportunity to outline their financial position and that would be in the best interests of the club itself. This is a good opportunity for the club.

“If we are shown finances are in order we will walk away from the meeting singing the praises of the club.

“But answers need to be given and we welcome the chance for those answers to be forthcoming.”

The club itself insists there is plenty of interest from several parties to take over at Cardiff City.

The current front-runner is Guernsey-based businessman Ben Steele who was supposed to be at the Bluebirds’ FA Cup third-round replay victory over Bristol City on Tuesday, but was unable to attend for personal reasons.

Meanwhile Ridsdale insists a group of Malaysian businessmen led by Dato Chan Tien Ghee, who has reportedly joined the Cardiff board, and a group of unnamed Americans are also keen to take control of the club.

Ridsdale is set to meet with Ben Steele tomorrow for more talks about a possible takeover, but supporters still remain in the dark over the future of their club.

South Wales Echo

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