CAST has received a reply from Paul Elliott to the questions we sent him earlier this week. We are grateful for his prompt response which gives us some more information about what is currently happening, although we note that Paul has not answered every question fully (eg. he hasn't confirmed whether the financial input is a loan or not).
We will be asking Paul whether, until the EFL have ruled on the takeover, he is prepared to answer further questions from supporters - in the fashion that Marian Mihail employed during May and June.
Paul wrote as follows:
Thank you for your letter and sending through those questions. As I mentioned in my last letter, I fully appreciate the importance of an owner having a good relationship with their club’s supporters.
There is a process we are working through with the EFL and while we are in that process there are certain elements of my answers that I can’t elaborate on.
In the meantime, we understand that actions speak louder than words and we have already injected considerable funds into the club to keep it running, which we will continue to do.
Once everything is finalised with the EFL, my intention is to meet with supporters and fan groups, but while we remain in this phase, I have answered your questions as best I can.
1. We understand that you have no previous interest in or affiliation with Charlton Athletic. Could you explain to us what has motivated you to purchase a company that owns a football club with draconian liabilities to its landlord at a time when the very future of clubs is threatened by the financial implications of Covid-19?
I was made aware of this opportunity through Chris Farnell, who I have known for a long time and who knew I was thinking about investing in football. At the end of May, there were no offers on the table for the club and no funds forthcoming from any other parties – the club did not have enough money to pay the bills. After scrutinising the information I had available I thought I could see a long-term future in an investment in the club.
Charlton has the lowest budget in the league and, with the Covid-19 crisis, football will have to change and that should level the playing field. The club is in a good position; with a talented young manager, a fantastic academy and, unlike some clubs, not long-term, large, player contracts. The club needs stability, which hopefully we can provide, and that will give us the opportunity to grow.
Regarding the debt you mention, this relates to the freehold of the land, and hopefully that being there makes it clear our intention is with growing the club and not on any land deal, which has been the case for other interested parties.
2. When do you expect to hear from the EFL about the necessary approvals under the Owners and Directors Test and the Source and Sufficiency of Funds?
We have provided documents to the EFL and we have full respect for the process. There is no set timeline for these things but as soon as we hear of an approval, rest assured, we will let the fans know. We know how important it is for the club to finally have some stability.
3. Why has the ownership of ESI not yet been updated on the Companies House website?
Until we get EFL approval, this won’t be updated, it is important to us that we follow the appropriate protocol.
The restructuring will take effect through the correct channels once everything is finalised with the EFL.
4. What is the involvement of Mohammed El Khashasy in CAFC and ESI?
Mohammed is a member of the consortium. He is someone that both Chris Farnell and I have known for some time.
5. Can you tell us who else is in the consortium?
Once we have heard back from EFL we will be able to make the position clear. We are keen to follow the correct protocol. The new consortium does not include either Mr Nimer or Mr Southall and will be completely separate, personnel wise, from the company that acquired the club earlier this year.
6. You say that you have already put money into the club to help with the running costs. Is this in the form of a loan and will it be sufficient to cover the June wage bill?
I can confirm that we have indeed injected a considerable sum into the club, which has gone towards both the ongoing running costs and covering the June wage bill.
7. We note that Chris Farnell was involved in a legal capacity at Bury FC last year. We would be interested to know what he learned from that experience which could now be helpful to CAFC? How would he describe his relationship with the EFL?
I’ve known Chris for a long time and he has had a variety of high-profile clients within the sports industry. I haven’t spoken to him much about his time with Bury but I do know his role there was different to his role at Charlton. He was appointed as the advisor to Bury and was acting for the club in dealing with questions asked by the EFL but he didn’t act for Mr Dale in the takeover and wasn’t acting for him in his position as owner, I understand that he declined to act personally for Mr Dale. His role here, was initially in the claim against Mr Southall, which is continuing, and he is now working with our consortium in our dealings with the EFL . At Bury his sole role was to liaise with the EFL on the questions the EFL had raised. I know his experience working with the EFL has already been very valuable in this process and he has a good working relationship with the league which can only help us going forward.
8. Have CAFC received income from the Joe Gomez deal following Liverpool's title win?
No, the club hasn’t received any income from Joe Gomez following Liverpool winning the league. I’d like to add what a great achievement that is though, Joe and the people that worked with him at Charlton, including our Academy Manager, Steve Avory, should be very proud. His success highlights what I mentioned earlier about the fantastic academy at Charlton Athletic.
9. Who is fulfilling the role of Finance Director presently and what protocols are in place to ensure that income to the club from season ticket sales, central payments and any former player sales will be properly used to cover future legitimate football-related club costs?
Until we get EFL approval, we can’t and won’t be employing anyone to any role, including the role of Finance Director. The club has protocols in place regarding payments. I can categorically state that no monies have been taken out by myself or the consortium be it salary, consultancy fees, any other payments or expenses.
Revenue from season tickets, streaming and anything else has been used in the day-to-day running of the club. The club has also been refunding supporters who have requested refunds on ticketing or hospitality.
Thanks again for the questions, I hope they provided some clarity. We look forward to working with the club’s supporters once everything is finalised with the EFL.
CAST also received a reply this week from the EFL to our letter urging them to punish the individuals not the club:
Thank you for your letter, dated 13 June, addressed to the EFL’s Head of Policy John Nagle, we hereby acknowledge receipt.
Apologies for the delayed response, I can advise that the letter has been passed on to colleagues in the Executive Leadership Team for their information. We will therefore revert with a further response as appropriate in due course.
We don't really know what to make of that but we imagine that the alleged misconduct at CAFC is not top of the EFL's agenda at the moment.
Further to CAST's meeting with Cllrs Thorpe and Merrill last week Council Leader Danny Thorpe has issued a statement:
"As a Council we offer Charlton Athletic Football Club our full support and backing. We value all the great work that club do on a whole, but especially within the community. We will continue to work together to strengthen the planning policy protection for The Valley, through the upcoming review of the Core Strategy.
Peter Varney has tweeted:
"I was heartened to hear Greenwich Council's decision to take steps to strengthen their core strategy to protect The Valley and frustrate any future residential development of the site. Everyone is giving 100% at the club to retain Championship status and are to be applauded"
And he has written an article about football club ownership:
Over 1000 Charlton supporters have joined CAST in the last two months - no doubt motivated by the parlous state of affairs at our club. This has pushed our total membership towards 2500 making us one of the largest supporters' trusts in the country. Together we are stronger. You can join here:
If you are concerned about the future of our club sign up to the OUR CLUB campaign here: