Blackpool in crisis as Oystons miss deadline for £10m payment to Belokon

Owen Oyston (left) and Valeri Belokon at the High Court hearing last NovemberOwen Oyston (left) and Valeri Belokon at the High Court hearing last November
Owen Oyston (left) and Valeri Belokon at the High Court hearing last November
The future of Blackpool Football Club has been plunged into further uncertainty after it was revealed the Oystons missed yesterday's deadline to pay £10m to former club president Valeri Belokon.
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While football clubs up and down the country were focusing on last-minute transfer deals, Blackpool found themselves involved in a very different kind of deadline day.The Oyston family, the owners of Blackpool FC, had until 4pm to stump up the second instalment of £10m, having paid the initial £10m in December.Representatives for Belokon confirmed the payment was not made on time. It is possible the Oystons have since made the payment but this would still have been in breach of the court order. More details are expected to emerge today. The Gazette understands the Oystons had prepared an application to court to request more time to pay but it is not clear if this was submitted.In a High Court ruling last November the Oystons were ordered to buy out former director Belokon for £31.27m, after it was found they had illegitimately stripped the club of cash following promotion to the Premier League in 2010.Two further payments of £7.5m are due by the end of March and May.The Oystons had asked for permission to appeal the High Court judgement, but this was denied by the Court of Appeal on Monday.At the November Court hearing, Justice Marcus Smith found the Oystons had paid £26.77m out of the club to companies they owned, which fundamentally breached their duties as directors and unfairly prejudiced Mr Belokon.Belokon, who resigned as a director in August, had accused the Oystons of “improperly” extracting tens of millions of pounds from the club.He claimed they had treated the club as “their own personal cash machine” and said in a witness statement that he felt “betrayed” by the Oystons.The judge found in his favour and the club was put up for sale four days later.Since then, the Oystons have made an unsuccessful attempt to sell Oyston Mill and have placed several other properties on the market in a desperate bid to raise the required cash to pay off the Latvian millionaire.The Oystons are also believed to be at loggerheads over the future direction of the football club.It is understood relations have completely broken down between Owen and his son Karl, the club’s chairman, with Owen wanting to keep control of the club and Karl reportedly prepared to sell.The club was involved in no player transfer activity on deadline day.