Swindon Town takeover under way as chairman transfers his shares
- Chairman Lee Power was ordered to sell 85% stake
- New owner Clem Morfuni passes EFL owners’ test
Swindon Town are on the verge of a takeover after the chairman Lee Power started the process of transferring his shares in the League Two club. In a protracted high court legal battle, last month Power was ordered to sell his 85% stake to the Axis Group, the building services company owned by minority shareholder Clem Morfuni, an Australian businessman.
On Tuesday the Football League confirmed Morfuni has passed the league’s owners’ and directors’ test. Swindon are currently under a transfer embargo after defaults in payments to HMRC as well as non-payment to creditors. Last week, in conjunction with the Professional Footballers’ Association, the EFL stepped in to ensure players and staff received 60% of their delayed June wages. Players and staff expect the remainder of their outstanding wages to be paid at the end of this month.
In a statement the EFL said it could “confirm it has issued consent to the acquisition of the additional shares in Swindon Town by Mr Clem Morfuni in accordance with EFL regulations, and it is now a matter for the shareholders to conclude any associated transactions.
“The EFL is looking forward to working with the new ownership as they seek to ensure a successful and viable long-term future for the club. In addition, to these developments the league continues to review a number of matters relating to the previous ownership arrangements at the club.”
Meanwhile, Swindon borough council has commenced legal action against the club in an effort to recover rent arrears totalling a six-figure sum. Swindon have not paid rent since April 2020. The club and Power are also the subject of Football Association charges regarding the ownership and funding of the club.
In April, Power and the director of First Touch Pro Management, Michael Standing, were charged with breaching FA regulations on ownership.
Standing, a former Walsall midfielder, stated he acquired 50% of Swindon’s holding company, Swinton Reds, when Power bought the Robins in 2013. Under FA rules, agents are not allowed to own clubs because of potential conflicts of interest.
Swindon are without a manager, assistant manager, chief executive or director of football. The goalkeeping coach, Steve Mildenhall, is currently taking charge of first-team matches. Swindon, who have nine contracted first-team players, are due to start the League Two season at Scunthorpe on 7 August.