Punish the individuals not the club

Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust urges EFL to sanction rogue individuals, not the club, to avoid another Bury.

CAST has today written to the EFL urging them to take action against individuals concerned, not the club, as a result of the investigation into the January takeover of the South East London club by East Street Investments.

CAST understands from media reports and correspondence with the EFL that the investigation concerns directors taking up "relevant persons" roles at Charlton Athletic before EFL approval and the failure to provide source and sufficiency of funds. It is believed that the investigation is now coming towards a conclusion.

Charlton Athletic FC is already being sanctioned for the failure to meet the funding requirements through a registration embargo imposed since early January, a fact which only came to light and to the attention of fans in mid March.

Should the EFL find that there is a misconduct case- possibly a serious misconduct case - to answer, CAST is calling on them not to impose further penalties on the club but to either (1) refer the individuals to the FA on disrepute charges or (2) use their own Policy on Taking Action Against Individuals.

"It is entirely unjust that the club, namely the fans, the playing squad and hard-working staff, should incur any further punishment because of the actions of rogue individulals" says Richard Wiseman, CAST Chairman. "ESI bought the Football Company for £1. Since then, the individuals involved have misled fans about their intentions and obfuscated over the provision of information to the EFL. They have brought the good name of Charlton Athletic into disrepute while seeking to profit personally"

It was announced in the past few days that East Street Investments has now been sold on. This means the individuals under investigation no longer have any role at Charlton. If, in this instance, the EFL punishes the club rather than sets in motion a process that sanctions individuals, it sets a dangerous precedent that in effect allows temporary non-compliant ownership of football clubs to occur without redress. In CAST's opinion this only invites the type of short-term profiteering that brings the EFL and its clubs into disrepute and jeopardy, allowing chancers to wreck one club for short-term gain and then move on to the next.

CAST remains extremely concerned for the future of Charlton Athletic Football Club and is determined that the Addicks will not follow the same trajectory as Bury. All in football at the time of Bury's expulsion from the league said that such a case must never be repeated. This current investigation offers the EFL the opportunity to take a different and wholly appropriate approach by sanctioning the individuals and not the club.

The CAST letter to the EFL is here.