An outline agreement with Kelvin Thomas, who is leading the consortium buying Northampton Town Football Club, has been agreed by Northampton Borough Council Cabinet.
A memorandum of understanding has been agreed tonight between the consortium and the borough council. Cabinet has agreed to move forward with a deal that would see the debt owed by the Club transferred across to the development land.
The Club would then be free, subject to meeting conditions, of debt to the Borough Council, putting the Club on a stable footing for the future. Control of the land development and the pursuit of the debt would come back to the Borough Council.
To repay the debt, the Borough Council will move forward alone with the development of the land around Sixfields. The Club will also relinquish to the Council the right to recover the outstanding money from First Land and County Developments Northampton Ltd.
The agreement would also see the consortium led by Kelvin Thomas pay off the Club s debt to HMRC and plan to finish the East Stand and develop conference facilities at the ground.
Cllr Mary Markham, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said that the agreement represented the only deliverable plan to safeguard the future of the football club and the best option for seeing the loan repaid and the missing money recovered.
It is clear that if the Club is to survive and have some stability, we have to find a way of repaying the debt. This deal puts us in the strongest position to ensure that the public purse is protected. The Council will now be in control and all the proceeds will come back to us to repay the debt.
We have been badly let down, and will also be pursuing the parties involved in the earlier development in every way we can for the return of public money.
Three separate investigations are taking place into the loan to the Club. The first, an investigation by Northamptonshire Police into alleged financial mismanagement will take primacy.
In parallel, KPMG LLP, external auditor for the Borough Council, is to review how the Borough Council managed the loan to the Football Club. The Council s own Audit Committee is also investigating.
Subject to the agreement being signed by all parties, the Borough Council will ask for the Administration Hearing in the High Court on Friday to be adjourned for three weeks, so that a legal agreement can be finalised with the Club s new owners.