Cork City members to vote on €1 sale of club to Preston North End owner

Trevor Hemmings would assume the outstanding liabilities as part of the call option agreement deal

Cork City members are to vote on the sale of the club to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Cork City members are to vote on the sale of the club to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Members of the supporters’ trust which owns Cork City Football Club will be given the opportunity to vote on a potential sale of the club for €1 at a specially convened remote general meeting on Wednesday, October 28th.

On Wednesday, the board of management of Foras, which has run the Rebel Army since the beginning of the 2010 season, circulated a communication to members informing them of the meeting, in which the only motion will surround an agreement which would give a ‘call option agreement’ to Grovemoor Ltd.

Grovemoor is owned by English businessman Trevor Hemmings, who also owns Preston North End. In February of this year, with Cork City struggling to gain a Premier Division licence, Preston provided a much-needed cash injection with the purchase of sell-on clauses which Cork held on Republic of Ireland internationals Seán Maguire and Alan Browne. From discussions emanating from that deal, Grovemoor sought first refusal should City ever cease to be a fan-owned operation.

The Foras board has given its backing to a sale in the interests of the club’s long-term viability. If the motion is carried – a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one vote is required – then Grovemoor would purchase the club from Foras for €1 and assume the outstanding liabilities .

Cork City were under the ownership of investment fund Arkaga when a group of supporters established Foras in 2007 with a view to providing a safeguard for the future. Tom Coughlan later took over the club but, after surviving a winding-up order, the club was refused a licence for the 2010 season and Foras entered what was known as Cork City Foras Co-op in the First Division that year.

The ‘proper’ name was restored for 2011, with City winning promotion at the end of that season and, under John Caulfield, they became regular challengers at the top of the table, winning the FAI Cup in 2016 and the league and cup double the following year. However, they currently sit bottom of the Premier Division with five games remaining, the first of those away to second-placed Bohemians on Friday.

Also scheduled for Friday night was the meeting of St Patrick’s Athletic – who beat City 2-1 at Turner’s Cross on Saturday evening – and Dundalk but that game has been postponed due to the identification of a positive Covid-19 case in the Pat’s squad.

As a result, the Saints’ first-team squad and staff are awaiting tests and are limiting their movements. Earlier this week, the meeting of Galway United and Drogheda United was postponed due to two Covid cases in the Galway squad.

Trying to reschedule the Pat’s-Dundalk fixture could prove difficult for the league as the Lilywhites have five other games to fit in between now and the final round of fixtures on November 1st, beginning with Tuesday’s trip to face Cork.

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