Belokon tells Gazette: I'm fit and proper for a role at Blackpool

Valeri Belokon
Valeri Belokon

Valeri Belokon says there are “obvious” and “compelling” reasons why his English Football League (EFL) suspension should be overturned.

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The Latvian, who is banned from holding high office at an English club, has confirmed to The Gazette he is “in the process” of reversing his disqualification after meeting with the EFL last week.
Blackpool FC confirmed last September that Belokon had failed the EFL Owners’ and Directors’ Test after being handed a 20-year prison sentence in Kyrgyzstan for money-laundering and tax evasion.
Belokon, who had resigned as a director at the club the previous month, denies any wrongdoing.
In a statement issued to The Gazette last night, Belokon said that conviction ignored the “most basic principles of natural justice”.
Belokon said: “The aim of ensuring the integrity of those involved with the company management of English football clubs is to be supported.
“I certainly understand the need for the EFL to have a fit and proper person test.
“That said, the regulations cannot always deal adequately with every scenario in life.
“I believe that this has happened in my case. The decision of the Kyrgyz Court, upon which the EFL’s decision was based, ignored the most basic principles of natural justice.
“This meant that under a strict application of its rules, the EFL disqualified me from being an owner and director under its fit and proper test.
“I accept the EFL did not have an option but to apply its rules in the way that it did at first instance.
“I believe that over the last 10 years I have demonstrated that I am a good football citizen. This can be seen from my conduct both as a fan and director of Blackpool Football Club, evidenced in the recent judgement of the English courts.
“The judgement followed a comprehensive and public examination of the events and my actions within Blackpool Football Club in the seven years following its promotion in 2010.
“I believe I have shown that I truly have the best interests of Blackpool Football Club at my heart and that I wish it to prosper.
“I believe there are obvious and compelling reasons why I should be considered to be fit and proper under the EFL rules.
“I do not wish for a politically motivated Kyrgyz court verdict, made in my absence, to prevent me from being a director of Blackpool FC.
“I am in the process of working with the EFL to provide them with the necessary information and to investigate together a potential solution. I am hopeful that in due course we will do so. At that stage, I will be able to consider my role at the club.
“Finally, I must add that I continue to be overwhelmed by the show of support from the fans of Blackpool FC for my time as a custodian of their great club.
“The EFL, with whom I have met recently, are aware of the content of this statement and have confirmed that they are happy to work with me.”