Valeri Belokon’s application to have a Court Receiver appointed to recoup the £25m he is still owed by Owen Oyston is expected to be heard in the High Court next month, the Gazette can reveal.
As disclosed last week, Belokon’s lawyers Clifford Chance, who it is understood have already identified a Receiver, are considering going down this route to bring an end to the recent impasse.
The High Court has confirmed to The Gazette that an application has been made to the court for a hearing, which will be heard during a three-day window between February 11 and February 13.
The application is likely to be in front of Justice Marcus Smith in the Rolls Building in London, although an exact date and time is still to be confirmed.
A Court Receiver would be brought in to discharge the assets of Owen and Karl Oyston as well as Segesta - which owns Blackpool FC, the stadium, the training ground as well as the Travelodge and Quernmore Hall.
Were a Receiver to be appointed, this would be an unprecedented move in English football and would involve a lot of uncertainty, involving the potential threat of a 12-point deduction by the EFL.
This is because under EFL rules, the appointment of a Court Receiver is deemed ‘an insolvency event’ in the same way Administration is.
It comes after Blackpool’s odds of being relegated from League One were slashed last week following the rumours.
An online betting website claimed a “tidal wave of bets” had been placed on the Seasiders going down ahead of their 1-0 win at Portsmouth on Saturday.
The claim appeared to be based on very little other than the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) column in Friday’s Gazette, which speculated that a 12-point deduction could be a possibility were Clifford Chance to appoint a Receiver to run the club.
Blackpool’s win at Pompey leaves them ninth in League One, 11 points clear of the bottom four.
Manager Terry McPhillips admitted the rumours, which surfaced on social media on Friday night, did get a response from his players.
He said: “I don’t know what our odds are now for relegation but they should be a little longer, despite getting slashed after some rumours.
“What do I know? I don’t know but I think anyone can put something on the internet these days and get a response from it.
“It did get a response because the players were like, ‘What’s going on?’ But we just crack on and concentrate on the football. That’s what we did at Portsmouth and luckily got the result.
“We put up with some stuff and we get some stick. Fans don’t turn up and then you come to a place like this and there are nearly 20,000, but we just get on with it.
“We didn’t win because of rumours the players heard – it’s because they’re a good group who stick together and back each other up.”
Last week, three of Blackpool’s leading fan groups released a joint statement to inform supporters of the potential impact of a Receiver being appointed.
Should it happen, there is likely to be a discussion over whether or not boycotting fans should return if or when a Receiver is brought in.
BST, in conjunction with Tangerine Knights and Muckers Supporters' Group, agree that fans ought to consider this carefully before a general consensus is agreed upon.
Their statement read: "As you will all have seen from the BST article in The Gazette on the impact of the appointment of a Court Receiver at our club, we seem to be moving towards the end game for the Oyston regime.
"It also seems highly likely that there will be periods of uncertainty in the coming weeks/months as to what is happening and how this impacts upon the ongoing ethical boycott/NAPM stance we’ve maintained up to now.
"Representatives from the three fans' groups met to discuss the issue and agreed that were a Court Receiver to be appointed it would be crucially important that we fully understand the terms of any receivership before any recommendation can be made to our members and the fanbase generally as to whether the boycott should continue or be lifted and if so, on what terms.
"As the BST article makes clear, such a decision can only be properly made once we have the relevant facts and must not be taken prematurely.
"All three fans' groups are committed to working together to ensure that the facts as we receive them are presented to you all with as much clarity as possible so as to ensure that together we can make the right decision for ourselves and the future of Blackpool FC.
"Over the last four to five years we’ve all been part of an unprecedented campaign against the Oystons' ownership of our club. What’s important now is that when we return (and we will) that we do so in the same way we have boycotted – TOGETHER."