The crisis at The Valley deepened on Friday when Elliott and club lawyer Chris Farnell failed the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test because, according to the EFL, the two members of ownership group East Street Investments [ESI] were “subject to a disqualifying condition”.
Elliott and Farnell have lodged appeals but, with just 32 days until the League One season starts on September 12, Charlton’s future remains shrouded in uncertainty.
Matthew Pennycook, the Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, has warned Charlton could be heading the same way as Bury, who were expelled from the EFL last year amid their own ownership crisis.
The takeover saga at The Valley took another twist yesterday when Farnell resigned as a director of ESI. It is understood Farnell believes the move will help his EFL appeal as he is no longer classified as a “relevant person” at Charlton, but he is expected to stay on as the club’s lawyer and retain an active role from his Manchester offices.
ESI acquired Charlton for an initial £1 from Roland Duchatelet in January but directors Tahnoon Nimer and Matt Southall had a bitter public fall-out and the deal collapsed because of a failure to provide proof of funds. Nimer is now represented on the board by Marian Mihail, while Southall was removed as a director.
Farnell then put forward Elliott as the man who is buying Charlton and the club announced in June that the Manchester-based businessman would be their new chairman.
But there is scepticism about the motives and financial backing of Elliott, whose background is in property and hospitality, and last week he was disqualified by the EFL from running the club.
An EFL statement on Friday said: “Following a full and comprehensive appraisal of all the relevant matters the board determined that three individuals were subject to a disqualifying condition and the EFL declined to approve their applications.”
The EFL say they are also “considering applications from other individuals” under their owners’ and directors’ test, but it is unclear who they are.
According to Companies House records, Abu Dhabi-based Panorama Magic, led by Nimer, and Southall continue to own Charlton.
It has also emerged that ESI want to bring in former Southampton, Wolves, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones to control transfer dealings, which would undermine manager Lee Bowyer (below) and director of football Steve Gallen.
Farnell and Jones were both involved with Bury when they were expelled from the Football League last August, eight months after owner Steve Dale bought the club for £1.
Angry Charlton supporters confronted Farnell his offices in Hale on Friday afternoon.
Former Charlton chief executive Peter Varney and former Ritz owner Andrew Barclay remain interested in buying the club, but they cannot be certain what they are purchasing and the situation is further complicated by the fact that Duchatelet owns The Valley and the club’s training ground.
With under five weeks until the new season, there are major concerns Charlton will not be able to put out a respectable team in League One.
Charlton have been under a transfer embargo since January and they were today due for talks with the EFL as they bid to push through moves for Alex Gilbey and Connor Washington. The Addicks agreed deals for the two players last week but they need to be ratified by the EFL.