Lancashire

Blackpool's Owen Oyston 'should buy out Valeri Belokon'

Owen Oyston Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Oyston and his son Karl deny "unfair prejudice" against shareholders

Blackpool FC's majority owner must be forced to buy out the club president's stake to end a legal dispute, a QC has told a High Court judge.

Owen Oyston is accused by Valeri Belokon of improperly extracting millions of pounds from the club after its Premier League promotion in 2010.

Mr Oyston and his son Karl deny "unfair prejudice" against shareholders.

Andrew Green QC, for Mr Belokon, said "misconduct in their dealings" with the club made "a pretty ugly picture".

During the case hearings Mr Oyston has denied personally exploiting the club funds and his legal team has called for the case brought by Mr Belokon to be thrown out.

Latvian Mr Belokon is acting through his firm VB Football Assets, which is a minor shareholder in the club.

Mr Green told Mr Justice Marcus Smith, sitting in London, that when the case began four weeks ago "from the moment the cherries had lined up on the Premier League fruit machine", the Oystons treated the club as "their own personal cash machine".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Latvian Valeri Belokon is acting through his company VB Football Assets, which is a minor shareholder in the club

He said it was "simply incontrovertible" Mr Belokon had suffered unfair prejudice at the hands of the Oystons and their companies.

Mr Green argued the appropriate remedy "should be nothing other" than the Oystons and their companies buying out Mr Belokon's interests.

He suggested Owen Oyston and club chairman Karl would not have funds immediately available to repay the loans taken from the club following receipt of Premier League money.

'Exorbitant' buyout proposed

He said there was no realistic prospect of those loans being repaid to the club while it remained under Oyston family control.

If a court order led to the football business having to be sold to a new owner to raise funds for the buyout, that was likely to be popular with supporters currently boycotting Blackpool because of the Oystons, he added.

Alan Steinfeld QC, appearing for the Oystons, asked the judge to dismiss Mr Belokon's "confused" case, claiming he wrongly "thought" he had obtained a "gentlemen's agreement" entitling him to equal shares.

Mr Stein said of the Oystons: "Lots of ugly words have been hurled against them but they felt morally entitled to recover some of their monies."

The judge reserved his judgment to a date that will be announced later.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites