LONDON — The owners of former Premier League team Blackpool were accused in court on Monday of treating the club like a “personal cash machine.”
Lawyers for VB Football Assets, a company that is owned by Latvian businessman Valeri Belokon and is a minor shareholder in Blackpool, alleged at the High Court in London that the Oyston family had “improperly” extracted millions of pounds from its funds following promotion to the Premier League in 2010 and used the money for their own benefit.
VB Football is pursuing a claim against the Oystons for “unfair prejudice” against shareholders because they were allegedly excluded from key decisions, information and any share of profits.
The case began Monday and is expected to last five weeks.
The Oystons deny the claims.
Blackpool was promoted to the Premier League in 2010 for the first time and was relegated after one season.
Lawyer Andrew Green, acting for Belokon, said the club received 106 million pounds (now $135 million) for being in the Premier League, 48 million pounds from the 2010-11 season followed by 58 million pounds in “parachute payments” over the following seasons.