We are grateful once again to Marian Mihail for his responses below to supporter questions put to him by CAST. Unfortunately, we can find little in what he says that give us comfort or confidence that the uncertainty about the future of our club will soon be resolved.
- Last week you reported Tahnoon Nimer has pledged “some financial relief … by the end of the month”, and accepted it was “needed now”. Has this happened yet? If not, why not, and when is it going to happen?
- Those Charlton fans that still have any hope the current ownership will fund the club will struggle to keep believing if this does not happen by May 1st. If there are not sufficient funds to pay the salaries and other commitments by then, what are the financial (and extended) consequences for CAFC?
The club’s wages were paid on April 30th. We all thought funds were needed in April, which is why Tahnoon Nimer said he would put funds into the club by then. However, we were able to get through the month without an injection or loan. This was very close and funding will definitely be needed in May. Tahnoon Nimer knows this and remains committed to injecting funds when the football club needs it. I mentioned last week, injecting large additional funds is not viable for Tahnoon Nimer at the moment with uncertainties around the EFL investigation, the ex-directors potential un-picking of the takeover and the presence of Mr Southall.
- It is our understanding Shaun McHugh no longer has any dealings with CAFC. Is this correct? If so, who is the Finance Director of CAFC, and to whom does he or she answer?
This forms part of an ongoing process and I cannot comment on this at present. What I can say is that there is presently in place effective oversight and controls of the club’s financial department and its management of funds available. The department is now being run in the structure it was before the takeover of East Street Investments.
- What is the latest regarding the EFL’s Owners' and Directors' Test for Claudiu Florica and yourself?
We’ve received some formal feedback from the EFL They have processed and approved my application. We are still waiting on the formal feedback on Claudiu’s application, but expect this very soon.
- Please explain to Charlton fans how Tahnoon Nimer came to meet Claudiu Florica and yourself and how you became involved in ESI/CAFC? What experience do you or Claudiu have either running a football club or as company directors?
With regards to my relationship with Tahnoon Nimer, I met him in late February when he asked Claudiu for advice on Panorama’s situation regarding Charlton. As for Claudiu’s relationship with Tahnoon, that is a question he can answer better than me.
Claudiu is an experienced business person, having an MSC from Polytechnical University of Bucharest, specialised in Avionics engineering. He has held different, top management positions in multinational companies such as France Telecom, Bull (Athos), Compaq, Hewlett Packard and Fujitsu Siemens. He is currently involved in two multi-million Euro businesses in Critical Infrastructures design (https://innova.com.ro/)
Member of European Data Centre Association), business process management (https://enterprise-concept.com/) big data and artificial intelligence.
He has been involved in football for a long time, as he also owned a football academy in Bucharest which operated in association with Atletico Madrid.
As for myself, I have my fair share of football experience which includes advising clients both as an independent consultant until 2015 and as a lawyer since then.
What is important to note is that we are only here temporarily, to help clean up the mess that has been left. We are also working closely with the staff at the football club who are very professional and are more than capable of running a football club without a permanent oversight, which they were doing more or less since the start of 2018 under Roland Duchatelet’s ownership, before the ESI takeover.
- There are two individuals whose names appear in various documentation around the takeover, Mr van Seventer and Mr Hirst. What was their role at the time and what role are they now playing in ESI/CAFC?
I have never worked with or met Mr Van Seventer or Mr Hirst. I know that neither have been involved with the club since my appointment but anything before that would be speculation on my part.
- On March 11th, Chris Farnell spoke to journalist Jim White on his TalkSPORT radio show. When asked if Tahnoon Nimer could reassure Charlton fans that he has the club at heart Farnell responded, “I can guarantee that’s why he bought the club”. This was over six weeks ago. Since then, Charlton fans have had ever-increasing cause for concern about the future of the club they love. What actions on the part of the club’s directorship and leadership team can you point to which evidence Chris Farnell’s guarantee that Tahnoon Nimer, and ESI in general, is acting in the interests of Charlton Athletic?
- In the same interview, when asked about the proof of the source of funds to the EFL, Chris Farnell stated: “Those funds have been proven to the EFL.” This is seemingly not true; indeed, in your response to Q8 of last week’s fan questions, you confirmed that the issue was not resolved. Mr Farnell is an English lawyer, with all that that entails. Why did he make that statement?
As directors we have had to make decisions on a variety of situations in the best interests of Charlton Athletic. At this stage these mostly relate to the cashflow. Some of these are specific to the current situation at Charlton, such as decisions being made on which creditors are legitimate and which are not. Others are decisions that are having to be made at a lot of football clubs because of the Coronavirus crisis, such as furloughing of staff and player wage deferrals, these decisions are considered and made with involvement of the Senior Management Team.
I cannot speak for Chris Farnell, but he probably referred to his opinion that the new documentation sent by Tahnoon Nimer to the EFL was sufficient, whereas I was referring to the fact that the EFL did not give a final and explicit feedback on that, thus leaving the matter open. We are continuing to work with the EFL on this topic, but as I mentioned last week it is all up to the two owners.
- You made clear in your responses to last week’s questions that Tahnoon Nimer does not intend to invest in the club while Matthew Southall is involved in any capacity, and that Mr Southall’s status as a shareholder of ESI constitutes involvement in the club from Mr Nimer’s perspective, notwithstanding that it gives him, as you said, “no authority over the club, staff and contractors”. Many fans see this as an excuse for not injecting funds into the club, particularly given that Mr Southall would have no access to those funds, and are deeply concerned that, in the personal dispute between Mr Nimer and Mr Southall, the club will be the true victim. Is Mr Nimer prepared to put his dispute with Mr Southall to one side in order to ensure the continued survival of the club at these uncertain times?
Sorry, this repeats a little bit of my answer earlier but Tahnoon Nimer remains committed to injecting funds when the football club needs it. Injecting large additional funds is not viable at the moment with uncertainties around the EFL investigation, the ex-directors potential un-picking of a deal and the presence of Mr Southall.
Indeed, even in the last few days Mr Southall and Mr Amis have submitted new invoices. However, they will not be paid as we either couldn’t find a contract or proof of work/order.
I know myself, Claudiu and all the Charlton fans, players and staff hope that Tahnoon Nimer and Mr Southall can put their differences aside and make a good decision for this club.