Birmingham City takeover remains under investigation


A proposed takeover of Championship club remains under investigation by the Football League.


That is despite a consortium led by businessman Paul Richardson and former Barcelona and AC Milan striker Maxi Lopez already providing funding to the West Midlands club.


Although the Football Association do not comment in acquisitions or change of control situations, it is believed that a major outstanding issue is the requirement for the current and prospective owners to pass an owners and directors’ “fit and proper” test.


There are concerns that rules may have been breached if operating funds have been provided without the relevant people have prior approval, although Richardson insists they have done nothing wrong.


In recent years, Birmingham have had a chequered off the pitch record.


Since 2016, they have been owned by Birmingham Sports Limited (BSL), a Chinese based company, the club’s second successive Asian owner after Carson Yeung.


He was a highly controversial figure in his own right. He bought the club in 2009 from David Sullivan and David Gold – who now own West Ham – but, within two years was arrested and charged with money laundering in Hong Kong. Although he claimed he had made his fortune through stick trading, gambling, a hair salon and various business ventures in mainland China, it was found that he had lied about where his assets had come from and he was found guilty on five charges and given a six year jail sentence.


When BSL broke the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules, the club were docked nine points after incurring losses of almost £49 million between 2015 and 2018 – almost £10 million more than the maximum allowable adjusted losses.


Fortunately they were able to plug the hole in their finances by selling Jude Bellingham to Borussia Dortmund for a fee that could eventually rise to £30 million if he moves on, as is widely expected, next summer.


So far, the disruptions off the field do not look like they are affecting the team on it.

Current John manager John Eustace only took lover in early July, but they have begun the season well, and after beating Stoke City away at the weekend are now just four points off a play-off position.


It has been more than a decade since they were last in the Premier League, but having spent the intervening years more concerned with relegation than promotion from the Championship, their supporters are beginning to dream again.