Chris Davis wrote: September 19th, 2023, 10:48 pm
I have long put forward my belief that the Trust must cease to exist as a Community Benefit Society at the moment they lose control by virtue of the loss of its majority shareholdingl. I put that directly to Colin Everett. I put it directly to the FSA and this is the response that I got from Andy Walsh, Head of National Game and Community ownership:
"Thank you for contacting the FSA. The society can continue operating after the takeover of the football club.
In approving any sale, the members would need to agree how the society would continue to meet its legal responsibilities including those set out in the society rules.
Colleagues at the Football Supporters’ Association are advising the society’s directors, which, if needed, includes access to our legal advisors.
I hope this answers your query.
best wishes "
I forwarded that response to the board by email via Joe Crocker. My interpretation of Andy's response is this. It is perfectly possible for the society (aka the Trust) to continue as a CBS But in order to do so it must continue to meet it's legal responsibilities, including those set out in the society rules. The fundamental legal responsibility is that it must carry out a 'business, industry or commerce'. It was possible to fill that obligation by means of a majority holding in the AFC. While some other form of 'unintentional trust' might exist as a matter of law, when it loses that majority holding then the current Trust ceases to meet the requirements of the legislation and ceases to exist at law. This means it cannot hold the shares because it has no legal status. That's my opinion, anyway.
Andy also makes clear in approving a salethat the members must need to agree on the legal responsibilities etc. Well, the update does say this "The Trust will remain as a Community Benefit Society as is the case with trusts who are minority shareholders in other football clubs in the EFL and the non-league pyramid." So, I don't know how they have come to this conclusion but what is certain to me is that that statement does not constitute a way for members to agree the status of the Trust in approving the sale.
To be frank, I am fed up of flogging that apparantly dead horse to the BOD.
The problem to me is that the Trust is not being seperately and independently advised. It is relying on the same directors who are directors of the AFC to act for it. In the matter that I have outlined and possibly others there is a clear conflict of interest. Nobody is condidering the Trust's position a if it were an independent third party.
But let's take the position that I am wrong. So, nothing in the Trusts Model Rules will change per se because it sells its interest in the AFC. The directors have indicated that they will resign en masse from the AFC. They have said nothing about the directorships of the Trust. They may well hang on to see if any of them are offered a seat on the new AFC board. However, what should be clear is that this represents an opportunity for the Trust to stand further back from the AFC and consider it's own position more.