Manchester-based businessman Paul Elliott has succeeded in his appeal to be granted an injunction to block the sale of League One club Charlton Athletic until a court case to determine his claim on the club is held on 23 November.
The decision was made by Lord Justice Lewison after a two-hour hearing, in which Paul Chaisty QC, acting on behalf of Elliott, said failure to grant an injunction would render the ownership case pointless given current owner Tahnoon Nimer, through his East Street Investments (ESI) company, could sell the club in the meantime.
During proceedings there was reference made to the attempts of US-based Danish businessman Thomas Sandgaard to buy the club, but no actual evidence was put forward to establish the status of any ongoing negotiations.
Sandgaard has previously indicated that he feels he can continue with his plans no matter the outcome of the case.
Further complicating the club’s sale is the fact that former owner Roland Duchatelet still has control over Charlton’s stadium and its training ground.
A statement presented to the court by Charlton director of football Steve Gallen, warning of the consequences of an injunction being granted – including the likely extension of a English Football League ban on the Addicks being allowed to buy players – was dismissed by Lord Justice Lewison.
That transfer embargo, it was decided, was put in place by the EFL after ESI failed to provide proof it had sufficient funds to run the club when its original takeover took place in January.
Lord Justice Lewison said the initial decision not to grant the injunction had been wrong and related to ‘muddled hypothesis’ over what was being ruled upon.
The decision will be greeted with dismay by Charlton fans, who have made it clear they do not want Elliott, or his close associate and former club solicitor Chris Farnell, attached to their club.
Both men have appealed against an EFL decision to reject their application to be passed as an owner or director, meaning neither can be involved in the running of the club.
Elliott has already put £500,000 into Charlton to pay wages, although as ESI has not put money in, it is not clear how the club intends to pay its bills before the November trial.
Elliott has agreed to provide up to £50,000 in compensation should it be found that he is not the rightful owner and ESI prove they have lost out financially due to the delay.