Trust Chair Keith Morgan provides a detailed breakdown of a meeting with Cardiff City Chair Mehmet Dalman at the weekend.
On Sunday, April 3-, 2023 representatives of the Trust, the Supporters`Club, the Disabled Supporters Association and independent travel groups were invited to attend a meeting at Cardiff City Stadium with Club Chairman Mehmet Dalman (MD). The invitation was received on the day before.
The meeting took place after the Huddersfield match in the Fred Keenor Lounge, starting just after 3.40 p.m and following immediately after a 2.45 p.m. meeting the Chair had held with media representatives Rob Phillips, Chris
Wathan and Paul Abbandonato. Neither group attended each other’s meeting.
The meeting was informal in nature and a free-flowing debate ensued with issues raised by both fans representatives and Club officials. Club officials in attendance were Chairman Mehmet Dalman (MD), Finance Director Phillip
Jenkins(PJ), Head of Operations Wayne Nash(WN),Head of Communications Mark Denham(MD), Supporter Liaison Manager Amy McNiven(AM) and Supporter Liaison Officer Paul Corkery(PC). Club Director Steve Borley(SB) was
also present for part of the meeting.
MD agreed that the EFL previous correspondence with the Trust in which they stated that the club was not subject to a player registration embargo was correct but clarified the position.
Following payment by the club of the first instalment of the Emiliano Sala transfer fee to FC Nantes it was no longer subject to a FIFA transfer embargo. However, the EFL has confirmed to the club that, as a consequence of a breach
of its regulations, the club remains under a three-transfer window ban from paying any loan or transfer fees for new players.
Worryingly, MD stated that the club has been told that this embargo will remain in place even if the club pays the remaining two transfer instalments due or otherwise reaches settlement of the matter with FC Nantes. The club
has appealed this decision with the EFL as it can only be overturned by a meeting of the EFL main board. The Trust raised its concern that Peter Ridsdale is a main board director of the EFL and that he is hardly favourably disposed
Director of Football
MD acknowledged the absence of football expertise at board level at CCFC. He was supportive of the idea of bringing more football knowledge into the club.
In his opinion the title of the position does not matter it’s his contribution that’s important. He said that he would again be recommending to club owner Vincent Tan(VT) to make such an appointment. However, he also stressed that
the ultimate decision maker on this matter remains VT.
MD re-emphasised his view that in respect of the Sala transfer the club had acted correctly and honourably and that the whole tragic affair was caused by the actions of others and had adversely impacted upon the club. VT still
considers that CCFC should not have to bear the financial consequences of these actions and should continue to pursue the issue.
MD stated that the club was currently awaiting a decision from the Swiss Federal Tribunal concerning the Sala transfer decision from CAS (it had been expected a few months ago) and would react accordingly once received.
MD was asked if the club had tried to reach a compromise with FC Nantes over the matter and he stated that at least two efforts had been made to reach an agreement (including Nantes contributing to the Sala family support fund as
CCFC have done) but that Nantes have declined such an agreement.
The meeting was advised by MD that both civil and criminal actions were being pursued by the club both in the UK and in France against various parties regarding the Sala matter. It was pointed out to him by the Trust that one such
potential party Willie McKay remains an undischarged bankrupt until at least August 2023 and therefore unlikely to be a source of financial recovery and MD confirmed that the club was aware of this.
MD considered that Sabri Lamouchi had done a good job as manager and, with his contract due to run out soon, no action had yet been taken in respect of ongoing manager arrangements but he would be speaking to Sabri soon. He
stated that Sabri was fully aware of the current transfer embargo position but was confident that he could manage it.
A fan present asked what the club was doing about revenue generation from sources such as stadium naming rights, shirt sponsorship etc. PJ confirmed that, because the football industry generally was in a state of financial
difficulty, all potential income sources were being explored alongside a continuing review of expenditure. He stated that VT was not against a new shirt sponsor in general but was totally against sponsorship from the gambling
industry. He also explained that stadium sponsorship could make some income impact but was not as financially lucrative as many might think in the current economic climate.
Sale of the club
MD re-stressed VT`s ongoing commitment to the club and also confirmed that there are no current discussions with any parties interested in acquiring the club. (this is perhaps unsurprising whilst the uncertainty remains over the Sala
litigation position). He also stated that VT has confirmed that he would not under any circumstances sell the club to former owner Sam Hammam or any consortium or group on which he is involved or representing.
A number of fans present expressed their concerns about what they regard as a total disconnect between fans of the club and VT and the club at board level. MD stated that he considered that he was doing his best to connect with fans
by meetings such as this one, but asked if fans felt that there were other things he and the club could do. WN referred to the effectiveness of the SLO (Supporter Liaison Officer) meetings. The Trust agrees with this absolutely. The
SLO meetings are very useful and achieve a lot but are not the forum to raise strategic issues such as those discussed at this particular meeting.
AM stated that she was continuing to progress the previously announced intention to hold “fans forum” type meetings (possibly as soon as June) with a larger, broader group of fans. At present she had only discussed this in any
detail with the DSA and the Trust asked her to liaise with us ASAP to move this forward. AM suggested that the format of such meetings (which MD confirmed he would attend) might be similar to those previously held successfully by way of a roadshow when Neil Warnock was manager but it was pointed out that part of this success was down to the personality of the individual and wouldn’t necessarily work in the same way again.