Oystons bid to save cash with redundancies at Blackpool FC
Redundancies are underway at Blackpool Football Club as the Oystons try to save cash to pay off Latvian millionaire Valeri Belokon.
It is unclear exactly how many people are likely to be affected, although it is understood one employee has already left while another is also set to depart.
It was previously thought that as many as nine members of staff were to be made redundant, although this has not been confirmed.
At least five people received letters last month asking them to attend meetings.
The Gazette understands the staff likely to be affected work in the ticket office and the club shop.
Crowds have plunged in recent years as boycotting fans launched their Not A Penny More campaign to starve the Oystons of cash.
Club staff have received minimal communication from the Oyston family on the matter, with Karl’s son Sam given the responsibility of sending out letters and meeting with staff.
The club claims to employ around 295 members of staff, although this figure includes match day stewards and employees at the Blackpool FC Hotel.
The redundancies come after the Oystons were ordered to pay former director Valeri Belokon Â£31.27m following a High Court judgement in November.
The Oystons were ordered to buy out Belokon’s shares after operating an “illegitimate stripping” of the club following its promotion to the Premier League in 2010.
The club was put up for sale four days later.
The Oystons met a December 4 deadline to pay the first Â£10million but now have to comply with a judge’s ruling that they pay the remainder, including interest, in staged payments.
Describing their evidence as “woeful”, Mr Justice Marcus Smith ordered the Oystons to pay another Â£10m by 4pm on January 31; and two lots of Â£7.5m by March 30 and May 31.
The judge also ruled that the Oystons had breached the terms of an injunction freezing their assets by negotiating a Â£5m loan, secured on the Travelodge hotel and Home Farm, to put towards December’s payment without prior consent of Mr Belokon.
But the judge retrospectively approved that deal.
The Oystons are currently seeking leave to appeal the original court decision.
A spokesman for Blackpool Football Club declined to comment.