Councils provide loans to support Chesterfield F.C takeover

Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council have resolved to each provide £0.5m loans to Chesterfield Football Club Community Trust (the ‘Trust’) to support the Trust’s acquisition and operation of Chesterfield Football Club (the ‘Club’), subject to final agreement with the Trust on terms and completion of due diligence.

Chesterfield Borough Council’s Cabinet took the decision this morning (14 July 2020) whilst Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet came to an ‘in principle’ decision on the matter back in March.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Chesterfield Football Club has been an integral part of life here in Chesterfield borough for over 150 years.

“Football has the power to change people’s lives for the better. At such a difficult time for all of us, we believe the Club and Trust have key roles to play in supporting Chesterfield’s social and economic recovery.

“We’ve been impressed by the Trust’s approach in looking at all aspects of the Club’s financial and business affairs, and we think it’s the right thing for the Council to do to back the Trust at this time.

“We are also pleased to be working collaboratively with Derbyshire County Council on this venture and we very much welcome their involvement.”

Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, said: “Derbyshire County Council has worked with Chesterfield Football Club Community Trust over many years on a range of education, health and wellbeing and employment support programmes.

“The loans to the Trust will mean that these programmes will be critical in supporting the communities of Chesterfield and north eastern Derbyshire to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We therefore believe it makes good sense for our two Councils to come together to help fund the Trust. 

“We’re confident that the Trust can breathe new life into the Club and bring new visitors from far and wide to enjoy not just the football, but all that the wonderful county of Derbyshire has to offer.”

Chesterfield Borough Council’s Cabinet decision is subject to the council’s call-in procedure, which means that the decision cannot be implemented until five calendar days have elapsed without a call-in being invoked.

Both councils have legal due diligence processes to complete to ensure that their respective interests are properly protected. It is proposed that the two £0.5m loans will be jointly secured by a legal charge on the Club’s stadium as was the case in 2009, when Chesterfield Borough Council provided a £1m loan to the Club, which was subsequently paid off

The loans will be repayable over a 15-year period and will attract a commercial rate of interest.

Should the Trust choose to sell the Club at some point in the future, then the Councils’ loans would be repaid in full at the point of sale.

The two Councils will also be invited to make appointments to the Trust.

Chesterfield FC Community Trust chairman Mike Goodwin said: “The decision announced today means that the Community Trust’s bid to purchase Chesterfield FC has taken a big step forward.

“I would like to thank the leaders and executive officers of both councils for their valued support.

“The legal process is progressing with the aim of transferring the ownership of the club to the Community Trust as soon as possible."

Current Spireites' club secretary, Ashley Carson has also welcomed the news: "This is a major development and fantastic news for everyone concerned. I am working with the Trust's chairman, Mike Goodwin, to conclude the sale of the club as soon as possible.

"Dave Allen and I made it clear that we wanted to hand over the running of the club to the Trust ever since they first made their intentions known and I am delighted that we have taken a significant step closer to realising that."

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