Valeri Belokon: Ex-Blackpool director was 'offered ownership' by Owen Oyston

Valeri Belokon resigned from his position as a Blackpool Football Club director in August 2017
Valeri Belokon resigned from his position as a Blackpool Football Club director in August 2017

Ex-Blackpool director Valeri Belokon has turned down an offer by Owen Oyston to take ownership of the club.

The Latvian businessman, 58, declined because of Oyston's valuation of the League One side, believed to be £25m.

The Oyston family were ordered to buy out Belokon's company, VB Football Assets, after a trial in November 2017.

In a statement on Tuesday, owner Oyston described Belokon's recent comments that he has "the club's best interests at heart" as "fake news".

"Mr Belokon has no intention of coming back to the football club or protecting it as he has publically claimed and he has successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of those fans who believed he was their salvation," the statement added.

Oyston claims he also offered Belokon the club's stadium, the hotel next to Bloomfield Road and the training ground as part of the deal in early February, but "some weeks later" the Latvian said he was "not interested".

Belokon's representatives declined to comment on the statement when BBC Sport contacted them.

'Club is in potentially perilous position'

Following November's trial, an initial payment of £10m of the £31m awarded by the court was made by the Oystons, but a second similar sum due in February was not paid.

Lawyers acting for Belokon later sent bailiffs to retrieve assets from the Oystons because of the missed payment.

Oyston said Belokon was "seriously damaging the club" by "refusing" to allow the family to fund it.

"At the moment the football club is using money to keep it afloat that was borrowed by Owen Oyston," the statement added.

"The simple truth is that he is refusing to engage in discussions to save the football club from further damage and to avoid at all costs its administration and the deduction of 12 points which will relegate it."

Blackpool are seven points above the League One relegation zone with nine matches remaining.

Despite the offer, Belokon, who bought a 20% stake in Blackpool in 2006, currently cannot own the club after being given a 20-year jail term in Kyrgyzstan in May 2017external-link for "money laundering, tax evasion and dishonesty".

He subsequently failed the English Football League's Owners' and Directors' Test in September 2017.

Despite this, Belokon says he is working with the EFL to reverse the decision to disqualify him because it ignores "basic principles of natural justice".

'Ongoing situation complex and concerning' - EFL

The EFL's chief executive Shaun Harvey met with representatives from various Blackpool Supporters' Groups, and local paper the Blackpool Gazette, on Tuesday to discuss concerns at the club.

Issues surrounding the ownership structure at Bloomfield Road were among the topics discussed.

In a statement, Harvey said: "The EFL continues to appreciate that the ongoing situation is complex and concerning for supporters of Blackpool FC and I would like to place on record my thanks to those who participated in tonight's meeting.

"The debate proved to be a useful and constructive experience and, we will, over the coming weeks and months, continue to work with all stakeholders in an attempt to find the appropriate solutions into the relevant matters raised and discussed."

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