EFL approached by potential new Swindon owner for prior approval of takeover

The potential new owner of Swindon has applied to undergo the EFL’s vetting process in order to clear the way for him to take a controlling stake in the club, should he decide to.

The High Court has ruled that Clem Morfuni’s Axis Football Investments Ltd has the option to acquire the shareholding of the club from current owner Lee Power.

The EFL is not aware if Power has, or will, exercise his right to appeal against that ruling, but it has confirmed that Morfuni has approached it asking for prior approval under its owners’ and directors’ test should he ultimately wish, or be able, to acquire a controlling stake.

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It says recent developments at Swindon, including the town’s borough council threatening legal action over unpaid rent on the County Ground and reports of players and staff not being paid, are “concerning”.

The EFL emphasised that it does not have the power to step in or take control of a club, but that it can open disciplinary procedures against individuals if that is deemed to be appropriate in any set of circumstances.

“The EFL continues to monitor the ongoing concerning developments at Swindon Town alongside proceedings in the High Court in respect of ownership issues at the club,” a league statement read.

“As part of the ongoing court case, it has been determined that, through Axis Football Investments Limited, Mr Clem Morfuni has the option to acquire the shareholding off current owner Lee Power and, as a consequence, control of the club.

“Mr Morfuni has now made an application to the EFL for prior approval in accordance with the EFL’s regulations before determining whether to take up that option.

“The league continues to work with Mr Morfuni, considering his application, such that if Mr Morfuni does acquire ownership, he is in a position to meet his obligations required under current rules.

“The EFL does, however, reserve its position in respect of any matters arising out of the ongoing situation at the club and will take the most appropriate action available to it under its regulations.

“As it stands, the EFL powers are limited to those as set out in its rulebook and it does not have any right to step in or take control of club operations in situations such as this with clubs having rejected the opportunity to explore this further as part of the owners’ conduct review in 2017-18.

“As part of that review the EFL board did implement a policy of taking action against individuals and as matters develop and subsequently conclude elsewhere it will determine what, if any, action against individuals is appropriate in the circumstances.

“The EFL will continue to work with the club and relevant stakeholders as they seek to ensure a successful and viable long-term future for the club and all those associated with it, particularly its players, staff and supporters.”