Langston set to reject Bluebirds moves to settle debt
By Michael Morris
Updated Friday, 29th June 2012
Posted by Wales Online
CARDIFF CITY’S attempts to settle its historic debt with the shadowy Langston Corporation might need some extra work.
For the current deals on the table do not seem acceptable to Langston representative Sam Hammam, the former Bluebirds owner.
At a fractious meeting on Wednesday night with supporters demanding their season ticket money back following the club’s change from red to blue home shirts, chief executive Alan Whiteley outlined the importance of paying off the loan notes taken out in 2004 by Hammam.
Having pushed the controversial rebranding exercise through, Cardiff’s Malaysian backers, led by billionaire Vincent Tan, have vowed to pump cash into club which would bring their total investment close to £100m.
But, so far, that will take the form of loans garnering seven per cent interest.
It is hoped the Malaysians will convert the money owed into equity and vastly increase the number of shares they hold in the club, but it is unlikely that will happen before Langston are out of the picture once and for all.
Flamboyant Lebanese businessman Hammam has been acting for Langston, a company registered in Switzerland and based in Panama.
The original debt was for £24m, but the club have offered three new deals via Hammam:
£8m payable within 30 days;
£10m with £3m payable now and the rest at the end of the 2012-13 season;
£13m with £8m payable this year and an additional £5m if City are promoted to the Premier League.
But associates still close to Hammam say none of these will be accepted with Langston wanting an immediate £10m pay-off.
Lifelong Bluebirds fan Annis Abraham, who is in regular contact with Hammam, said: “I believe Sam would look favourably if an offer of £10m paid up front was put forward, but right now it’s a no from Langston.”
Hammam would be offered the role of life president at Cardiff with an invitation to attend as many games as he wants in the future if he accepts any of the deals on the table.
However, after the acrimonious manner in which he departed the Welsh capital in 2006 it remains unclear what appetite there might be for this among supporters.
The club called the meeting at the Cardiff City Stadium after a number of fans got in touch demanding refunds for their season tickets.
Despite a majority of supporters coming out in favour of the new home shirt and badge in a recent WalesOnline poll, a vocal group are against change.
Whiteley told the meeting that so far just over 90 fans had asked for a refund and a decision would be made within the next 10 days as to whether their money was returned.
Fans raised concerns about the motives of Tan and his colleagues in changing the colour of the home shirt Cardiff have played in for the last 100 years.
The billionaire businessman has already outlined that he believes the use of red will increase Cardiff’s profile in lucrative Asian markets.
Manager Malky Mackay also attended the meeting and, under questioning from supporters, once more outlined his satisfaction with the backing he is receiving from the club as he looks to add to his squad over the summer.