Charlton Athletic: Chairman Matt Southall removed from board of owners ESI

Matt Southall
Matt Southall became chairman when ESI completed its takeover of Charlton on 2 January

Charlton chairman Matt Southall has been removed from the board of club owners East Street Investments.

Director Jonathan Heller has also been relieved of his position after an acrimonious meeting on Thursday.

Southall afterwards issued a statement, claiming: “Protocol has not been followed and resolutions have been passed which are invalid and unlawful.”

The pair have been replaced on the ESI board by Bucharest-based Marian Mihail and Claudiu Florica.

They will meet senior Charlton staff on Friday as the club looks to exit a transfer embargo imposed by the English Football League for failing to show how they will be funded beyond June 2021.

“It has been a difficult few weeks for everyone involved at the football club and this is a positive step in the right direction,” majority shareholder Tahnoon Nimer said in a statement on the club website.

“Our priority now is stabilising the short-term future of the football club in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and working with the EFL to get the club’s transfer embargo lifted to demonstrate our long-term commitment to Charlton Athletic.”

According to the Charlton website, Mihail is a Bucharest-based lawyer focusing on sport and aviation, while Florica founded a football academy which has partnered with Atletico Madrid and held ‘top management positions’ at various multi-national companies.

Their arrival is the latest twist in a long-running boardroom saga at the Valley.

Controversial former owner Roland Duchatelet sold the club to Abu Dhabi-based Nimer and his ESI consortium in January, with former football agent Southall becoming chairman.

But Southall has claimed that Nimer has not invested “a single penny of the promised funds” and has not passed the English Football League’s owners and directors test.

Last week manager Lee Bowyer described the boardroom row as ‘crazy’.

The Addicks - who were promoted back to the Championship under Bowyer last season after winning the play-off final at Wembley - are currently in one of the relegation places.

They are two points behind 21st-placed Hull City with nine games left to play, but all football has been suspended until 30 April because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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