Thursday 23 November 2017

Dundalk seeking solution to €430k debt crisis

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE future of Dundalk FC remained unclear last night after it emerged that the club owes the Dundalk Town Council €432,887 for planning levies on a development built by the club on land leased by it at Oriel Park.

Owner Gerry Matthews is looking to relinquish control of the club, which is set to lose an estimated €150,000-€180,000 this season, but wants to continue running the development, known as the Youth Development Centre (YDC), which opened last year, but is not yet fully operational.

Supporters group, the DFC Trust have emerged as the only interested party after former finance director Ciaran Bond pulled out of the running, but they need to reach agreement on the YDC before they can proceed.

A profit sharing agreement with Matthews has been proposed, but because of the terms of the stadium's lease it may not be possible.

The centre was funded by private investment and also a €250,000 Sports Capital Grant.

The profits generated by the YDC were designed to help fund the club, as well as repaying the money put in by the benefactors who funded it.

The land that the stadium and the centre are built on is owned by the family of former UEFA vice president Des Casey which leases it to the club for €212 per week.

The DFC Trust are investigating a solution that would see them take over the running of the club and the lease for the ground from Matthews, allowing the developer to continue the management of the YDC. But according to the terms of the lease and because the sports capital grant was issued to the club the YDC cannot be sub-let to Matthews.

Were this solution reached, Matthews would take on the €432,887 debt which would be repaid out of its profits, while the club would use the centre's bar profits to bring down the club's deficit.

However, any solution appears to be at least three to four weeks away, with the Trust, the Casey family and Matthews all pursuing legal advice in the hope of reaching an agreement.

Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers defender Pat Sullivan was last night named as the Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association Player of the Month for August.

Irish Independent

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