The Swansea City Supporters’ Trust notes the reports in the local media following the recent fans forum with the club’s majority shareholders and wishes to clarify and correct some of the points raised.
As per our forum address in October 2016, our first meeting with the majority shareholders took place on April 9th 2016. Between that date and the completion of the sale in July, no offer was made for all, or part, of the Trust shareholding. Any meetings with Trust representatives, referred to in the media as happening in March, actually happened from April onwards. In those meetings we stated that, while our preferred position was to retain a stake in the football club, this would be dependent on certain criteria needing to be met.
It is important for our members to be aware that at no time has the Supporters Trust ever stated that we would not sell all, or part, of our shareholding under any circumstances. The Supporters Trust has publicly stated many times (including prior to the sale being completed) that the Trust would not rule out a sale if it was in the best interests of the club and our members. Furthermore, any decision regarding a sale would have to be made by our Members, and not the Trust Board. This position was also outlined to our original shareholding partners in March 2016, once we became aware that a new deal was on the table, when we wrote a letter advising them that we could be prepared to sell some of the Trust stake should it be in our interests to do so.
As advised at our forum in October, the Supporters Trust did receive an offer to purchase up to half the Trust shares in August 2016, however this offer was quickly withdrawn when further details were requested by us.
Another point raised in the media reports related to the awareness of the buyers to the existence of the original Shareholders Agreement and the validity of this document. The Trust can confirm that a copy of the original Shareholders Agreement was provided to the buyers’ legal team prior to completion of the sale. A copy was sent as soon as we were advised that the sellers had warranted that no such agreement existed. It is also worth remembering, as per our earlier statement in October, that the Supporters Trust were approached in July by Chris Farnell, a solicitor acting for some of the selling parties, asking the Trust to sign a waiver stating that the original Shareholders Agreement was not, and had never been, valid. The Supporters Trust has always maintained that the original Shareholders Agreement was, and remains, valid.
As previously noted, we have agreed with the majority shareholders to postpone any further review and actions regarding our shareholding position until the end of the season. This is solely to ensure the club’s focus is totally on the playing side and ensuring every effort is made to secure our Premier League status for another season; however it is important that we address the issues that have been raised at the Fans Forum, to ensure our members have clarity on previous events.