A Singaporean-based group that has held talks with Owen Oyston has released a statement responding to reports they are interested in buying Blackpool Football Club.
vSport, a company founded by Chinese-American entrepreneur Qiang Bai, held two meetings with Oyston last month.
The Gazette understands talks are due to continue although they have been left frustrated with their dealings with Oyston, whose current valuation of the club is seen as too high.
The ongoing legal disputes with the club’s former director Valeri Belokon are also complicating the issue.
The group are keeping their options open and are said to be keen on purchasing a Championship club, although they are excited by Blackpool’s potential.
If they were to be involved with Blackpool, they would want a clean slate with no Oyston involvement. They are also willing to work with Blackpool Supporters’ Trust.
vSport said they wouldn’t be commenting on the rumours, but did confirm they would be “actively pursuing” investments in future.
They went on to say they have some “big plans” which they will be revealing over the coming months.
“We have taken note of rumours about vSport investing in an English soccer club,” executive director Qiang Bai said.
“We hereby declare that we have no comment regarding the publication of this unofficial news.
“Our team at vSport is actively pursuing commercial partnerships and investments globally through our trusted partners.
“We have built a great team at vSport and have some big plans that we will be revealing over the coming months.
“vSport Chain (Sports Value Chain) is the world’s first non-profit, open-source and blockchain empowered platform which is completely dedicated to the sports industry.
“The scale of the opportunities is immense.
“Technology has reshaped many industries. Now, with blockchain technology, it is time to re-shape the sports industry.
“People say in the age of AI, sports will be a major activity for human beings — then sports industry needs to catch up with the development of the technology.”
The meetings between Bai and Oyston apparently took place at Bloomfield Road and at Oyston’s estate.
They were also joined by Alexander Jarvis of Blackbridge, a British financier, who has previously helped facilitate investment in Barnsley and Peterborough United.
The Daily Mail published photos of Oyston with Bai and Jarvis, posing in front of his infamous woolly mammoth.
vSport, a business registered in Singapore, is described as the first blockchain aimed at the sports industry.
Blockchain, invented in 2008, is a technology launched to power bitcoin.
Former Real Madrid star Wesley Sneijder has links to the group, although he’s had no involvement in these talks.
The Gazette understands the consortium also held talks regarding a possible takeover back at the start of 2017.
Jarvis met with Owen and Karl Oyston as well as former chief executive Alex Cowdy.
Oyston, who still owes £24m to former director Valeri Belokon, claimed at the start of April that a deal was close to being finalised with an investment group.
On April 26, the 84-year-old released a subsequent statement saying a deal would be completed within the “next three to five days”, but a deal never materialised.