A takeover of Charlton Athletic can go ahead after businessman Paul Elliott was denied an injunction to prevent the sale of the club to any other party.
Elliott argued his agreement to buy East Street Investments should remain while he appeals against the Football League’s decision to reject his bid to pass its owners and directors’ test.
After the hearing obscenities were aimed at him by members of the public.
Possible buyer Thomas Sandgaard was at Charlton’s EFL Trophy tie on Tuesday.
Judge Richard Pearce delivered his verdict after a hearing lasting nearly four hours. The hearing was delayed by more than an hour after the huge number of Charlton fans trying to access the remote hearing blocked the system – at one stage neither the judge or Elliott were able to gain access.
Judge Pearce does believe a court hearing should take place to rule on the validity of Elliott’s claim regarding the ownership of East Street Investments but said there was “a very real risk Charlton Athletic Football Club could suffer extremely severe consequences if it was not possible for purchaser to be found for company”.
He added that if he granted an injunction and Elliott’s appeal failed, there was a risk an alternative buyer could be turned away, placing the club at risk.
As the decision was announced, Sandgaard, the US-based Dane, who has made no secret of his desire to buy Charlton, was watching the club in their EFL Trophy defeat by AFC Wimbledon.
During the hearing, both the witness statement of Charlton director Marian Mihail and conduct of the club’s former solicitor Chris Farnell were questioned.
Judge Pearce said he took Mihail’s dire warnings about the entire future of the club – if an injunction was granted – with “a pinch of salt”. He also said the evidence presented “at least raises questions as to whether he [Farnell] is in any way conflicted and acted inconsistently’.
While both sides said there was willing to move towards a speedy court hearing, Judge Pearce said it could not be heard until November at the earliest.
Despite Sandgaard’s public statements, he said he had seen no evidence to indicate a sale was imminent.
Judge Pearce said that at one point there had been more than 200 people watching proceedings.
He added: “Many of the people who remain on this call are frankly appalled by their beloved football club being dealt with as a commercial asset. I am afraid to say that is the reality of modern football.”