The English Football League has promised it will decide on whether or not Blackpool should be docked 12 points this season as “quickly as possible”.
Last week, a high court judge approved the appointment of receivers from David Rubin and Partners to oversee the sale of the club in order to settle long-term owner Owen Oyston’s £25million debt to former business partner and club president Valeri Belokon.
According to EFL rules, clubs that require court protection from ‘insolvency events’ should be docked 12 points so they do not gain a competitive advantage from having large amounts of debt written off.
The situation at Bloomfield Road, however, is more complicated, as the club does not have serious debts, the Oyston family does. In fact, the club is owed money by other Oyston businesses.
That is why David Rubin and Partners are acting as receivers on behalf of one of Oyston’s creditors, Belokon, and not as administrators or liquidators appointed by the court to settle as many of the club’s debts as possible.
With this in mind, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey has written “an open letter to all interested parties” that has been seen by Press Association Sport.
In the letter, Harvey explains it has heard from a “wide spectrum of people” following last week’s court announcement and has spoken to the receivers who expect to take control this week.
The 48-year-old, who announced his decision to step down as EFL boss at the end of the season on Monday, then writes that the league’s “immediate priority” is to make sure the club fulfils its fixtures.
Referring to a meeting he held with Blackpool supporters last March, Harvey explains his goal of helping the club “to create some stability” has not changed and he believes the appointment of receivers “may well be the catalyst to achieve this”.
He then defends the league’s approach to the long-running crisis at Blackpool, writing that the league “operates inside a regulatory framework…that provides the flexibility for the board to determine if a sporting sanction of a 12-point deduction is to be enforced”.
Underlining that the 12-point sanction is not mandatory, Harvey wrote: “The board will need to consider, for example, whether the period of receivership delivers any reduction in the level of debt at the club that is not available to another club outside an insolvency process, and if the competitive balance of the division is impacted as a result of the appointment of the receiver.”
The EFL board’s next meeting, Harvey added, is on March 6, when “we will look to bring the matter to a conclusion, as quickly as possible”.
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