Southall moves to retake Charlton control

By Ben Ransom

Last Updated: 11/07/20 7:55pm

Former chairman Matt Southall has moved to try to retake control of Charlton Athletic.

Southall and another former board member, Jonathan Heller, are launching legal action in an attempt to remove Chris Farnell as a director of East Street Investments, the company that owns the club.

Farnell, along with Romanians Claudiu Florica, Andrei Mihail and Marian Mihail, were appointed to the board of directors by former owner Tahnoon Nimer in March.

At the same time, Southall and Heller were removed from the board by Nimer, a process they both insist was not legal.

Southall has told Sky Sports News himself and Heller are working together in the legal action to remove Farnell, as well as the other board members appointed in March.

All four have been served a notice under the terms of the original takeover by ESI, which went through back in January, and all four have been officially removed from the board at Companies House, where all UK businesses have to be registered.

 Lee Bowyer's Charlton are still battling to stay in the Championship with three games left  Lee Bowyer's Charlton are still battling to stay in the Championship with three games left

Lee Bowyer’s Charlton are still battling to stay in the Championship with three games left

Southall has also told Sky Sports News he is only taking control of Charlton alongside Heller for a transitional period, and they plan to open talks with potential buyers of the club next week.

They hope to be in a position to conclude a sale within 28 days and, in the meantime, the club will be run by the senior management team.

It marks the latest twist in a long-running ownership saga that has been ongoing since January when Roland Duchatelet concluded a deal to sell the club to ESI for £1.

Currently, Southall and Heller are the only two directors officially registered on the board of ESI, the holding company that owns Charlton.

Charlton had initially done well after promotion but have slid to 20th and remain just one point above danger Charlton had initially done well after promotion but have slid to 20th and remain just one point above danger

Charlton had initially done well after promotion but have slid to 20th and remain just one point above danger

The situation is further complicated by the fact Nimer ended his ownership of the club by handing it to a Manchester-based consortium led by Paul Elliott last month.

This takeover was put together by Farnell, who was also acting as Nimer’s lawyer at the time, with the club officially confirming the new ownership on June 10.

An official statement from the club also confirmed they had been in touch with the EFL to finalise the process, and to satisfy the owners’ and directors’ test.

Property-developer Elliott was quoted as saying “on behalf of the consortium, I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to take ownership of Charlton Athletic. I recognise this club means so much to its fans and I will take the responsibility very seriously.

“I will be looking to ensure the stability of the club moving forward so we can look to put behind us the recent boardroom events and concentrate on building a unified boardroom and a unified football club.”

However, that change of ownership is yet to be registered at Companies House.

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