St Andrew’s Ownership
However, the recently published accounts show the ground as having been sold by Birmingham City Football Club PLC before 30 June 2019 to another BSH subsidiary, which we assume is Birmingham City Stadium Ltd, a company incorporated on 25 May 2019.
There may be a reason for this apparent conflict. Assuming that the legal contract for sale to another subsidiary had been signed and completed before 30 June 2019 – as indicated in the accounts – the buying company has 2 months to then register the sale with the Land Registry. So the registration would not necessarily have to have been completed by the time the accounts were signed off and this scenario would enable the Auditors of the accounts to 30 June 2019 to legitimately sign off with the sale included.
During the Trust’s successful efforts to re-register the Asset of Community Value for St Andrew’s, we were regularly checking with the Land Registry that ownership still resided with Birmingham City Football Club PLC. At the 3 July 2019, this was certainly the case.
On 23 August 2019 we discovered that on 22 August 2019 that there was now a ‘pending application’. There was no information available on the portal as to the extent of the application save for that it was a ‘dealing.’ A dealing is usually an application to amend the title and can be a transfer of ownership, new lease or updating an entry on the title register. It now seems likely that this was the registration of change of ownership.
However, the Land Registry Search on 8 January 2020 referred to above shows that this has not yet been actioned by the Land Registry. This can be for a number of reasons, however the likely one is that the Land Registry did not complete the application as there may have been a question which the purchaser or their solicitor was unable to answer.
For information, the ACV was re-registered on 25 July 2019, the original application having been sent by Blues Trust to Birmingham City Council on 29 January 2019. There is now uncertainty about the effectiveness of this registration, since the original application indicated the ground was owned by Birmingham City Football Club PLC. However, by the date of registration of the ACV it may well be that ownership had changed although this could not have been ascertained from public records.
The failure of the Club to tell the fans that the ground had been sold, (if this turns out to be the case and with the facts as we know them at the moment, it seems likely) is a continuing example of the unwillingness of Directors to engage with supporters. We understand that the EFL had known for some time that the ground had been sold, but because the sale value does not appear to have been inflated, the EFL had no issues with it. So why was this information withheld from Supporters by the club?