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Hereford United Football Club

HUFC frequently asked questions

04 February 2015

We have received lots of feedback on our social media channels relating to the length of the lease at Edgar Street, the omission from the stands in the lease document and any plans for development. We hope the new FAQs below will adequately explain the council's position on these points.

Why has the council opted for a short term lease for the Edgar Street ground?

The offer of a short term lease on the ground will ensure that a new tenant can be found and installed at the ground in time for the beginning of the new football season. The short term lease is a starting point from which we can negotiate with the potential new tenants. A long term lease may have implications for the turnaround of letting the ground. It would be difficult to complete the due diligence and consultation requirements that the council needs in time to meet the FAs March 1 deadline.

As the ground is listed as a “community asset,” the offer of a long lease may trigger a delay to the grant of a lease allowing football to resume next season. The implications of offering a longer term lease includes the activation of a six month moratorium period.

Why have the north and south stands been omitted from the lease?

The long term use of these stands will need to be discussed at such a time as we have a preferred tenant. The council doesn’t want to stipulate exactly what these stands should be used for as this should be done through a process of negotiation once a preferred tenant has been selected.

The previous lease included development rights of the north and south stands. The council wants to ensure that it attracts the right tenants, with the right intention of continuing football and not those with a particular interest in development rights.  

Are there any development proposals for the north and south stands?

No. The council has no current development plans for the north and south stands. We will discuss any further options for the stands with the preferred tenants and any decision for the future of the stands and longer term requirements for the ground will be considered by cabinet in autumn 2015, following full consultation with key stakeholders.

22 December 2014

Herefordshire Council, has today Monday  22 December, taken possession of the Edgar Street ground and related land from Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited. This was achieved through peaceful re-entry to the ground. The successful re-entry to the ground and land has effected the forfeiture of the leases.

The development agreement, which covers the Blackfriars and Merton Meadow stand areas has now been terminated and the directors of the former Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited have been notified in writing of this termination.

The council is committed to the continuation of football in the city and will now actively seek new tenants.

19 December 2014

As Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited is in the process of being wound up and a liquidator will be appointed, this action triggers the council’s right as landlord to forfeit the leases.  The council will now pursue this and seek to gain formal repossession of all three sites leased to the club.

Once the ground has been secured, the council will consider the appropriate process for procuring a new tenant to ensure the continuation of football.

The council is unable to seek immediate possession of the ground, there is a prescribed legal process which the council must adhere to. At this point in time we understand that this process is likely to take a couple weeks.

10 December 2014

Hereford United Football Club being suspended from the Football Association, in itself does not trigger termination of the lease. However, we will be thoroughly re-examining the conditions of the lease to assess what further action we may be able to take.

2 December 2014

The council still stand as a creditor in the winding up proceedings and await the outcome at the next hearing as do the other creditors. We will continue to press for settlement of all sums owed to us.

28 November 2014

We've updated the FAQs to reflect the amount HUFC now owes the council. This is in light of payments made on 24 October 2014 and reported below.  We hadn't updated the FAQs at that point to reflect the change.

26 November 2014

As stated on two previous occasions (4 August and 29 October), the council’s General Overview and Scrutiny Committee will undertake a full and thorough review on the process through which Herefordshire Council and Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited concluded the three leases and development agreement relating to the Edgar Street ground after all pending legal action against the club has been concluded.

For the avoidance of doubt, Herefordshire Council neither runs nor owns Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited.

Councillor Sebastian Bowen
Chairman of Herefordshire Council’s General Overview and Scrutiny Committee

10 November 2014

Herefordshire Council can confirm that on Friday 7 November, steps were taken to conclude the legal action taken against Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited on Friday 24 October for non-payment of rent.

The council will continue to monitor the club’s compliance with its obligations in the leases and will consider taking action to enforce any breach.

29 October 2014

As previously stated, Councillor Sebastian Bowen chairman of the council’s General Overview and Scrutiny Committee has confirmed that the committee will undertake a full and thorough review of the process through which Herefordshire Council and Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited concluded the three leases and development agreement relating to the Edgar Street ground.

This however will not take place until all pending legal actions against the club have concluded.

28 October 2014

Herefordshire Council has today (Tuesday 28 October) met with the Hereford United Supporters Trust and business representatives to discuss the group’s continued commitment to seeing football remain at Edgar Street in the event that the current club is wound up.

There are minutes available from this meeting.

24 October 2014

Herefordshire Council today (Friday 24 October) issued proceedings in the county court against Hereford United (1939) Limited for forfeiture of the leases and repossession of the ground.

These proceedings were subsequently served on HUFC directly.

In response to this action, we can confirm that HUFC has paid outstanding sums due to the council.

We are now consulting with our legal team and our rights are reserved.

23 October 2014

Herefordshire Council today (Thursday 23 October) attempted to take possession of the Edgar Street ground and related land from Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited through peaceful re-entry for breach of three leases due to non-payment of rent.

Council officers were unable to peacefully enter the premises as they were occupied by a club representative, so we are now taking legal action to gain possession.

We had previously not pursued this course of action, as when we joined the winding up petition on 15 September, our insolvency advisors suggested that it was highly likely the club would be wound up on 20 October. However, in light of the further six week adjournment, we have decided to use other legal actions available to us as landlord.

20 October 2014

Herefordshire Council was represented at today’s High Court hearing in London along with the other creditors of Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited.

The court adjournment until Monday 1 December does not affect the council’s current position and we remain part of the winding up petition.

30 September 2014

As part of joining the winding up petition against Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited, Herefordshire Council has to provide up to date financial figures relating to the amount owed by the club.

The outstanding amount provided to the winding up order is just over £48,000.  This includes rent and rates of nearly £36,000 and legal costs of over £12,000.  Additional legal costs of the same amount will also be due next summer, which will take the total outstanding amount to approximately £60,000.

In regards to the council statement issued on Monday 15 September, the council is yet to receive any communication from the club.

15 September 2014

Herefordshire Council has today (Monday 15 September) informed Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited that it will be supporting the current winding up petition and seeking full recovery of all monies owed to it by the club.

Both parties have previously stated their commitment to maintaining professional football at Edgar Street.  Whilst the council very much hopes that football will continue, it must balance this wish with its responsibility to recover the outstanding monies.

As such, subject to the position of other creditors, the council is happy to discuss deferring payment with the club (for a set period of time), if the council assumes responsibility for redevelopment of the ground and ends.  If this is agreed, it would allow the club to focus on football.

3 September 2014

Herefordshire Council is a creditor of Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited. During the recent attempt to set up a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), the council was listed as one of the club’s creditors.

The council took no part in the CVA, as it considered that other creditors were likely to be more affected by the outcome. Whilst the council is owed money by the football club, the amount would not affect the financial viability of the local authority. However, this might not be the case for smaller creditors, where the amount owed could be the difference between remaining in business or not.

The council has not joined in the current legal proceedings by other creditors seeking the winding up of the club. If those proceedings are successful, the council will recover the same percentage of the debt owed as the other unsecured creditors.

The council will continue to seek payment for the outstanding debt, which to date has not been settled.

26 August 2014

At the request of Jon Hale, a second meeting has taken place today (Tuesday 26 August) between Councillor Tony Johnson, representatives from Jon Hale's business group and the Hereford United’s Supporters Trust.

Whilst the meeting discussed the group’s proposed business plan, it must be stressed that the council is not actively looking for a new tenant at this time as we already have a tenant in place.

In the event that our current tenant is unable to continue operating, the council would need to go through a due process before making any confirmed decision on the future of the ground and its leases.

However, it is encouraging to know that there are options available, which would see football remain at Edgar Street.

7 August 2014

The council and emergency services, acting in a Safety Advisory Group capacity, have again met with HUFC representatives to discuss the club’s general safety certificate.

The council can confirm that whilst the club has met a number of statutory requirements surrounding spectator safety at Edgar Street, which will allow the first home game to go ahead on Saturday 9 August, there are certain stipulations attached to the certificate.

The club will only currently be allowed to play football matches in front of 1,000 spectators using both the Merton Terrace and Merton Stand at Edgar Street, as opposed to a full capacity crowd, until all of the partner agencies involved are satisfied that any outstanding safety issues have been properly addressed.

5 August 2014

The council and emergency services, acting in a Safety Advisory Group capacity, have today met with HUFC representatives to discuss the club’s general safety certificate, which is issued by the council to ensure spectator safety at the ground.

Unfortunately, the council, police and fire service are not satisfied that all of the necessary statutory requirements have been met or that all of the relevant paperwork is in place. Therefore at this stage, we are still unable to authorise the club’s safety certificate.

However, we are working closely with the club’s newly appointed safety consultants as well as club representatives, in order to try and resolve the outstanding issues.

A further special Safety Advisory Group meeting has been provisionally set for the afternoon of Thursday 7 August and a final resolution will follow this meeting.

4 August 2014

Councillor Sebastian Bowen, chairman of Herefordshire Council’s General Overview and Scrutiny Committee has today commented on suggestions that the council’s scrutiny committee should look into matters surrounding Hereford United Football Club.

“I am very aware of the great interest in the situation of Hereford United Football Club. After full and careful consultation with officers and members, I have come to the conclusion that it would be best to await the resolution of current uncertainties. The scrutiny committee should then undertake a thorough investigation of the whole sequence of events and consider what lessons must be learned for the future.”

15 July 2014

The council has not made any decision on the HUFC leases and will not do so before discussions with the owner.

We have issued a key decision notice today to ensure that as and when a decision is required, there will be no unnecessary delay.

4 July 2014

We can confirm that HUFC matches at Edgar Street will be postponed until further notice following safety certification talks.

The council and emergency services, acting in a Safety Advisory Group capacity, have held two emergency meetings with club representatives this week to discuss the club’s general safety certificate, which is issued by the council to ensure spectator safety at the ground. The meetings were primarily to discuss the arrangements in place to ensure compliance with the safety certificate, in light of recent staff and ownership changes.

Unfortunately, the council is not fully satisfied that the club can currently meet the requirements of the safety certificate and has therefore advised that no football matches are to be held in front of spectators at Edgar Street until this has been properly addressed.

The council has agreed with HUFC that the Help for Heroes match on Sunday 6 July and the friendly match with Cardiff City Football Club on Saturday 12 July will be postponed.

The Safety Advisory Group is working with the club to ensure that they can fully meet the requirements of their safety certificate to allow these fixtures to be reschedule as soon as possible.

The council hopes to meet club representatives again next week along with colleagues from the emergency services to review the situation.

26 June 2014

Herefordshire Council has received the following from the new owner of Hereford United Football Club.

"We wish to leave all leases for the club in the name of Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited.  We have paid all football creditors and been accepted in to the Premier Division of the Southern Football League."

The council has accepted this information in good faith.

19 June 2014

Herefordshire Council’s political group leaders met this afternoon and were given assurance from the council’s legal team, that the Edgar Street asset is protected by the robust terms and conditions of the lease to ensure continuity of its current use.

The council is clear and agreed that no transfer of leases will take place without its prior consent.

It must be stressed that no consent will be considered unless the tenant is a member of The Football Association. 

18 June 2014

The leader of Herefordshire Council met with business representatives from Hereford United’s Supporters Trust yesterday (Tuesday 17 June), to discuss their proposals.

The trust, which supports professional football in the county, is proposing to create a new supporter led football club for the whole community in the event that Hereford United Football Club goes into administration.

The council was presented with a comprehensive business plan, which it agreed to consider if the current club does indeed go into administration.

17 June 2014

The council is being asked a lot of questions about its involvement with Hereford United Football Club.  To help answer these, we’ve developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions.

16 June 2014

Herefordshire Council today (Monday 16 June 2014) met with the new owner of Hereford United Football Club to discuss the future of the club.

The meeting was specifically to gather information about the owner’s plans and timescales, which may require subsequent consideration by the council’s legal team and councillors.

The leader of the council, Councillor Tony Johnson will be meeting with all political group leaders as appropriate to ensure full involvement.

12 June 2014

HUFC currently owes the council in the region of £65,000 in rent arrears, business rates and legal fees and the council has been assured by the new owners that all outstanding monies will be fully re-paid.  We have asked for this assurance in writing and the owners have agreed to make a written undertaking to this effect.

The leader of the council, Councillor Tony Johnson is due to meet the new owners on Monday to seek further reassurances.

The new owners have also asked the council to consider assigning the two stand leases to a company within their ownership.  The council’s legal team is currently assessing the request and would go through a process of robust due diligence, which would include the new owners proving their financial standing, prior to any assignment being considered.

11 June 2014

Herefordshire Council is very sorry to hear the news about Hereford United Football Club; it is a significant blow to the city and to the county as a whole.

We are committed to ensuring that Edgar Street continues to be available as a home for football.  We have recently renegotiated all of the leases, which continue to be held by the club, to ensure that money generated from redevelopment opportunities at the ground will be invested back into the facilities.

We remain open to discussions with any potential investors who, like us, wish to see football remain at Edgar Street.

Councillor Tony Johnson
Leader of Herefordshire Council

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