Councillors have backed the administrators' decision to allow further bidders to come forward for Port Vale ¿ at no further cost to the taxpayer.
A full meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council took place last night (Monday) to discuss an update on the future of the League Two club. The team entered into administration in March, and the council is the club’s biggest creditor.
Administrators Begbies-Traynor have taken full responsibility for Port Vale and announced the continuing trading of the football club for the forthcoming season, which begins with a home Carling Cup tie against Burnley tonight (Tuesday 14 August).
But the administrators have removed exclusivity rights given to businessman Keith Ryder, who agreed to buy the club and associated assets for £1.3m in April, as the deal has yet to be completed. Begbies-Traynor have issued contracts to three other parties with the same terms and conditions, and are in dialogue with all the parties. They have also not yet ruled out the sale to Mr Ryder taking place, despite the delay.
Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: “The administrators have in effect opened up a ‘contract race’ for interested parties to come forward to buy the club.
“In the meantime, the administrators will continue to run the club up to the end of the season if necessary, and to do this without any further financial support from the city council.
“Our objectives were to ensure the club continues to exist, and with the same level of return for city taxpayers as agreed by the council on 25 April.
“We want to see Port Vale Football Club thrive for the good of the city. This is underpinned by our Mandate for Change to create the best city in which to live and work. The issues of financial stewardship and protection of the public purse continue to be important considerations.
“It was necessary to have a full council meeting to discuss progress, and to ensure all councillors are kept up to date with developments.”
The city council has paid £440,000 to support the administrator in keeping the club as a going concern, but no further payments will be made for the 2012/13 season. This money is expected to be returned at the conclusion of the sale.
Councillors at the meeting also agreed that, should there be any material changes to sale value or the terms and conditions, then any decision would be referred back to full council for a further formal decision.
For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.