Battle for Blackpool FC judgement not listed – verdict to be delivered in October

Blackpool FC owner Owen Oyston and Valeri Belokon
Blackpool FC owner Owen Oyston and Valeri Belokon

A judgement on a bitter legal battle between the Oyston family and Valeri Belokon will not be published until October, it has been confirmed.

Mr Justice Marcus Smith, sitting at the High Court in London, was expected to deliver his verdict by the end of July.

But the case was not listed on Monday and due to the court’s extended holiday period, it will be October before the case can be heard again.

Rumours circulated last week among fans that the judgement was set to be delayed.

The High Court confirmed on Monday it was not listed to be heard and will now be rescheduled in the autumn.

The Gazette understands neither party has been told of the judge’s decision and both will find out the verdict around the time of the publication in October.

The Oyston family had been locked in a High Court battle with Latvian millionaire Mr Belokon, who claims the family “improperly” extracted millions of pounds from the club when it enjoyed a cash “jackpot” after winning promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

Andrew Green QC, appearing for Mr Belokon, said “from the moment the cherries had lined upon on the Premiership fruit machine”, the Oystons had treated the club as “their own personal cash machine”.

Mr Green told the court that Mr Belokon had invested in the club as a minority shareholder on the basis that he would eventually be entitled to an equal share of the management and profits.

He had reached an agreement with Mr Oyston entitling him to parity once loans he had made were converted into club shares.

As that agreement had not been honoured, said Mr Green, Mr Belokon was now entitled to receive a buy-out award in the region of £24m-£25m.

Alan Steinfeld QC, appearing for the Oystons, asked the judge to dismiss Mr Belokon’s “confused” case, saying he had suffered no unfair prejudice.

Instead, Mr Belokon wrongly “thought” he had obtained a “gentlemen’s agreement” entitling him to equal shares.

The Oystons say Mr Belokon incited fans to cause trouble, making it difficult to run the company in the best interests of the football club.