The company that owns Southampton Football Club has gone into administration – but says the club will be unaffected.
The club, which is struggling at the bottom of the Championship, could face a ten-point fine which would certainly see it relegated after Southampton Leisure Holdings collapsed with £27million of debt. But there are hopes the football club could avoid the points deduction because it is the owners, rather than the club itself, which went into administration.
The Football League, which levies the fine as a disincentive to clubs going into administration, said it would be discussing the matter at a monthly board meeting on Tuesday.
Southampton Leisure Holdings – which owes Aviva and Barclays a total of about £27?million – yesterday said it had appointed Begbies Traynor as administrators of the business.
Three directors – Rupert Lowe, Andrew Cowen and Michael Wilde – have resigned with immediate effect, although the firm insisted the football club was “unaffected” by the proceedings. The firm’s shares were suspended on Wednesday after the company failed to secure the funding it needed by a March 31 deadline.
It had warned that without the injection of additional finance, it would be unable to continue as a viable business. The uncertainty had prevented it from posting half-year results.
Administrator Mark Fry said: “Southampton Football Club has a long history, and could be an extremely attractive investment for the right buyer. We are working hard to preserve the value of the football club and produce a positive outcome for all stakeholders. I ask that fans continue to show their support for the team for the remainder of the season, as we seek to show the best face possible.”
Southampton Leisure is in debt after spending more than £30 million on St Mary’s stadium, where the club has played since 2001. Lowe leaves for a second time after returning as chairman of the company last May, having held the role from 1997-2006.