BIHL (Birmingham International Holdings Limited), the parent organisation of BCFC, has today confirmed the voluntary appointment of the specialist receivership arm of international accountants Ernst and Young (Ernst and Young Transactions Limited). The club has been quick to issue a statement to put the minds of concerned supporters at rest by categorically stating:
There have been numerous political battles within the company, including an incident at the AGM where Panos Pavlakis was retired as an Executive Director and then reinstated very shortly afterwards. In the meantime Peter Pannu, Anthony Cheung Kwai-Nang and Carson Wong Ka-Chun were all re-appointed to the BIHL Board, with Liu Enxue and Li Hanguo retiring.
Before today’s statement, the board of BIHL had previously reported issues to the SFC and the HKSE, but the findings of these remain unknown.
BCFC also confirmed today that a majority of the BIHL board had decided that voluntary receivership was a necessary course of action to resolve the “fractious and inharmonious relations” within the company. It is obvious that we are seeing an irretrievable breakdown between two different factions on the board, although at the moment we do not know why things have come to a head in this way.
It is obvious that personality clashes are playing a big part in the soap opera that is the day to day operation of BIHL and the ongoing deadlock over the sale of the club, which is now stretching into its third year. However, this may be able to move forward under voluntary receivership as:
The suggestion is that BIHL could not have continued to operate in this way without real harm or detriment to the club, and we are sure that those on the board not in favour of this action will be extremely upset at the turn of events.
Many fans are likely to think that today’s event will turn out to be a positive for the club; on Radio WM Peter Knowles (football finance expert) remarked this this was good news for BCFC and they can now concentrate on a sale.
The well-informed Often Partisan blogger, Daniel Ivery, has also stated that he is happy with this development, acknowledging that although not an easy task, we could not possibly start to see things move forward, benefiting the long term future of the club.
We share that sentiment. We are as conscious as ever that the Football league are watching events closely, although thankfully the situation at the club has somewhat stabilised following the appointment of Panos Pavlakis. On the field, results have dramatically improved since the appointment of Gary Rowett. Hopefully the Football League will be able to distinguish between the effective running of BCFC and the inability of BIHL to operate as a coherent business.
The members of Blues Trust board are not experts in football finance and do not claim to understand the workings of the BIHL board. However, we hope that the statement made by BCFC today is good news for the club. We feel that it is probably better for BIHL to be managed by a reputable group of accountants than by BIHL board members who can’t reach agreement on what needs be done.