Peter Varney reckons that any prospective new owner of Charlton Athletic is running out of time to complete a deal if East Street Investments’ takeover is rejected by the EFL.
The EFL issued a statement on Monday night in which they requested a meeting with ESI’s current and also proposed new owners.
ESI acquired Charlton Athletic in January but did not buy The Valley or the club’s training ground off Roland Duchatelet at that point – instead agreeing a five-year window to pay £50million.
The EFL placed ESI under a player registration embargo from that stage as ESI had not satisfied their test for source and sufficiency of funding and they also needed to pass their owners’ and directors’ test.
Varney is representing businessman Andrew Barclay, who wants to buy the Addicks. Barclay is still keen to push through a deal despite Charlton’s relegation to League One but wants to negotiate with Duchatelet to also secure The Valley and their Sparrows Lane training base.
The EFL’s statement adds extra layers of doubt as to what the future holds in store for the South London club. The new campaign starts on September 12 and Lee Bowyer’s squad will soon be returning to training.
The governing body have not set a deadline yet for when they expect talks to take place with ESI.
Varney told the South London Press: “Any further significant delay in the EFL decision-making process will only serve to further destabilise the club.
“Putting together a competitive squad for next season is already a significant challenge for whoever the owner is – be that ESI or not – and the ongoing uncertainty will certainly hinder recruitment as players will be reluctant to sign.
“If ESI is ultimately rejected by the EFL any prospective new owner will require a period of due diligence and the future ownership of The Valley and the Sparrows Lane Training Ground will need to be resolved with the former owner.
“There will need to be visibility on the sums the club owes to creditors and clarity on any claims or known litigation threatened by third parties and the timescale for the resolution of these issues is already extremely tight.
“For the sake of the club’s players, staff and the supporters it is vital that all those involved in this process come to a resolution one way or the other urgently, and with video conferencing this should be readily achievable.”
Charlton’s website announced in June that Paul Elliott was the new owner and chairman. But there has been no change to the board structure at Companies House.
Elliott claims to have injected funds to pay salaries and also says he is part of a consortium, the names of whom will be made public once they get EFL approval for their takeover.
The Addicks are facing a £5m hit in TV revenue alone after losing their Championship status.
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