Mayor presses EFL for clarity on ‘convoluted’ ownership of Birmingham City FC

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, has pressed the English Football League for clarity over the “convoluted” ownership of Birmingham City Football Club which has endured weeks of speculation over a potential takeover.

The Mayor’s letter to the EFL comes after delays in a potential deal which would see businessman Paul Richardson and former Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez buy the Championship side from their current owners in a £35m transaction.

But Street has criticised what he says are “ongoing issues” surrounding the ownership of the Blues and says he has been contacted by a significant number of supporters who have raised “genuinely held concerns regarding the general direction and perceived decline of their club”.

In the letter, Street said: “As you will no doubt be aware, the supporters of Birmingham City have for several years raised serious concerns about the convoluted ownership of the club. This has not been helped by a lack of clarity and communication surrounding the rumoured ongoing takeover. I should state firmly that there is a strong view in the city that under the current ownership, the future of the football club is in jeopardy.”

He added: “It is my understanding that Mr Vong Pech is the person with the largest financial interest in Birmingham City and that he owns 23.53% of Birmingham Sports Holdings, 21.64% of Birmingham City plc and 25.00% of Birmingham City Stadium Ltd. Since the Hong Kong Stock Exchange announcement from Birmingham Sports Holdings confirming that Mr Pech had agreed to sell a 21.64% stake in Birmingham City plc, there has been little clarity or transparency provided to supporters.”

Street criticised the club’s owners for not seeming to communicate with its supporters.

“Therefore, I am writing to raise three queries with you. Firstly, I ask that you confirm who controls the club and its ownership structure, according to the EFL as the governing body. Secondly, I ask that you confirm, throughout the ongoing takeover, that the person with financial and operational control of the club would be subject to the ODT.

“Thirdly, what role, if any, does the EFL have in respect of the club’s ownership status and in ensuring good governance of what is an important community asset in Birmingham?”

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