Rules For Name Change Stricter Than Fit And Proper

Published: Apr 09, 2014 19:49pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 09, 2014 @ 07:49pm EDT

 

Two articles were written by myself for this site back on the 18th March 2014, one about the Italian businessman who had just been convicted of not paying the correct tax on his boat and saw his deal to take over Leeds all but collapse. The second story was about the bid of Hull City owner Assam Allam to change the name of the club from it’s current plain ‘Hull City’ to ‘Hull Tigers’. There was a big push back from fans who wanted to keep the traditional name and it looked like if he didn’t get his way then he would sell the club. Today we have had moves on both these stories and I wanted to catch you up.

 

LEEDS UNITED:

 

After his latest conviction I had written that there was no real chance that the 57 year old Italian would pass the Leagues ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ test. I was right and, shortly after the article went live that was the exact decision which was handed down. End of story right? No, because in an un-Italian display Massimo Cellino fought the ruling and late yesterday his lawyers confirmed that he had completed his takeover and a deal had been agreed for him to by 75% after winning the appeal.

The Football League have been quiet and so far are yet to confirm the deal but I think it comes down to the fact that the club really is in desperate need for some kind of financial assistance right now and this guy is the only one both willing and able to do it.

Certainly I do not think it was coincidence that on the same day Leeds United posted large losses for the 2012-13 financial year. Just over $15 million in losses brings the total of debt now owed by the club to $45 million with players agreeing to defer their wages. The debt needs to be brought down as to not have the club fall foul of the Financial Fair Play regulations for the League and for now, at least, it looks as if the club has avoided going into administration. That would have brought its own difficulties but this is not the end of the nightmare for Leeds and the goal now is to get some stability in the finances before even considering the leap back to the Premiership.

 

HULL CITY:

 

Back in the original article on the 18th I had said that the Football Association had been advised to reject the proposal for the Hull City name change by its membership committee. At that point it was clear to me that when the FA actually came to consider the proposal then they would follow the Committees recommendation. And they didn’t surprise, with 64% voting against the name change.

The real surprise was that the club held a vote of season ticket holders as to whether they wanted the name change. Considering the mass debate and the perception that the majority of the fans were against this name change it was a surprise that the majority didn’t come out to vote. Of the 15,000 eligible to vote only just under 6,000 actually did. Of those only 2,517 voted against the name change with the majority of 2,565 voting for the name change and the others actively voting that they didn’t care either way.

The ‘City Til We Die’ movement looked on the results as a meaningless gage of true opinions and the fans desire to see the owner stay. I think the same could be said the other way also, with the fans not willing to send a clear message on their desire to see the name stay as it is.

Now there is no chance of an appeal from this decision and the only way around it would to be submit another request next season.

So what now for the owner? He did say he would sell the club if name change was blocked and after the FA decision he seemed to have toned down his rhetoric. Stating that had the fans voted against then he would certainly walk away he has given himself some breathing room. I personally think he will still sell the club but he is a businessman and as a businessman could certainly get more money for the club after Sunday if the results go his way as the FA Cup Semi Final against Sheffield United takes place. I think if you are selling a club then having them in Europe and possibly FA Cup Winners would command a better price than just ‘Hull City - mid table mediocrity’.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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