Championship - Blackpool saga continues as chairman and president bicker

The crisis at beleaguered Championship side Blackpool has intensified with fresh accusations being made in the civil war between the club's chairman and president.

PA Sport Report
Championship - Blackpool saga continues as chairman and president bicker

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FOOTBALL Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston

Blackpool's chairman Karl Oyston has released an open letter hitting back at club president Valeri Belokon, a Latvian businessman who has a 20 per cent stake in the side.

It comes with fans fearful of the future with only 11 registered players - but no goalkeeper - ahead of their first league match of the season at Nottingham Forest on August 9.

Belokon last week accused the Oyston family of putting financial gain ahead of the club and of having "channeled away more than £24 million".

Now Oyston has hit back, saying in a letter published on the club website that it is the Latvian who is demanding B£24million from the club and defending his family's running of Blackpool.

Oyston's letter says Belokon asked for £24million to buy out his 20 per cent shareholding a year ago and asked for that again last week.

The letter states: "This, Valeri, if had we agreed to pay B£24million, would have given you a massive profit of virtually three times the original combined cost of your shares, which cost you B£1.8million, with a further B£6.6 million loan from you to contribute towards the construction and fit-out of the South and South West stands.

"You have already taken £1.86million from the football club."

Belokon accused the Oystons of moving more than B£24million to other family companies in the form of interest-free loans without his approval, and of taking more than B£11.5million out of the club in salaries.

Oyston says his father Owen Oyston and the family "have funded the club since the day he got involved 27 years ago" and that his father "has never taken a penny in dividends or any salary or any consultancy fees".

Oyston said the £24million "was in part used to pay off loans to Protoplan Ltd, Zabaxe Ltd, which was a considerable benefit to Blackpool Football Club because they were loans that had been used to build and modernise the BFC stadium and to provide BFC with income streams. Please note that Protoplan and Zabaxe, both Oyston group companies, did not take profit or interest on those loans.

"You say that my father and I took £11.5million in salaries. The board approved the payment of £11million to Zabaxe Ltd, a company owned by my father.

"The money did not go to him personally and it was paid in consideration to Zabaxe for its financial help and the help of other group companies for having supported the football club over a period of 24 years and building much of the stadium you see today. This involved large interest-free loans, without which support BFC would not have survived."

Oyston adds that the family are "in this for the long term" and expresses surprise that Pelokon has been backed by the Blackpool Supporters' Trust and the Seasiders Independent Supporters' Association.

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