IPS Law partner Chris Farnell has issued a statement in relation to Charlton Athletic.
Farnell, and his IPS Law firm, have been the target of a vicious campaign of abuse by individuals claiming to support Charlton Athletic.
It should be made clear that any threats or other online abuse will no longer be tolerated and the vitriolic campaign currently being waged against IPS Law and Mr Farnell in particular, will not be tolerated. And will be reported.
It appears much of this abuse has been fuelled by a number of untrue and misleading statements published – and unchallenged – online.
This statement is intended to address some of those miscommunicaes and set the record straight, in the hope that, this hateful and, in some cases illegal and abusive campaign, will cease.
Abuse has included threats of violent, intimidation, has seen the widespread publication and distribution of his address, telephone number and even being aimed at his family members.
This has to stop. It will not be tolerated.
Onside PR will work with IPS Law to properly communicate key messaging where appropriate – and in an effort to stop some of the mistruths that have been improperly reported and then shared on line.
The following is a statement issued by IPS Law and Chris Farnell:
IPS Law Statement Re Charlton Athletic
“Over the last few weeks, I have been subjected to some of the most horrific abuse imaginable by individuals claiming to support Charlton Athletic.
“My telephone number and address has been shared and I have been bombarded with calls, video messages and even added to a WhatsApp group so that individuals could spread hateful messages.
“Enough is enough.
“Messages or threats that cross the line of decency will be reported and left for the police to deal with.
“I have no issue with anyone forming their own opinion. Providing it is based on sound fact.
“Some of the statements banded about over Twitter and the internet in general are ludicrous.
“And, if some of these mistruths are feeding the frenzy and, enflaming reaction from individuals who would not normally engage in such activities, then it is my duty to try to address some of them.
“I have worked in football for a long time and, I am more than aware, that it is impossible to have reasoned debate with some football supporters – but, I live in hope that not all, will follow the pack.
“Tahnoon Nimer, Matthew Southall and Jonathan Heller completed the acquisition of Charlton Athletic on January 23, 2020.
“JMW in Manchester acted on behalf of Nimer, Heller and Southall (East Street Investments) on the acquisition.
“Neither IPS Law, or myself, were involved in any capacity. We were not working with, or in any way linked to Mr Southall, Mr Heller or Mr Nimer.
“IPS Law were appointed by Mr Nimer on March 12, 2020 after he became concerned by some of Mr Southall’s actions. It was believed Mr Southall had wrongly removed club funds.
“The position became so serious that IPS Law were requested to begin proceedings to remove Mr Southall as Charlton Athletic Chairman. This was achieved successfully.
“Mr Nimer asked IPS Law to begin proceedings against Mr Southall to recover club finds. Litigation is ongoing and has spiralled into satellite litigations – all on behalf of the Club – and in relation to actions taken against former director/consultants.
“IPS Law’s position in this is to recover club funds and protect Charlton Athletic moving forward.
“During this period IPS Law were asked to provide information to the EFL regarding the original sufficiency of funding that was sent to them regarding Mr Nimer. This was duly done.
“Mr Southall attempted to add directors to the ESI board with the sole aim of being able to outvote Mr Nimer – even though his company Panorama is the majority shareholder.
“In order to address this imbalance, I was asked by the remaining directors of the Club, Marian Mihail and Claudiu Florica, to become a director of ESI to prevent this from happening.
“I have remained as a director of ESI as they require UK legal advice and want to protect its position, up until the point of EFL approval. Once EFL approval is given, I will resign and I will no longer be a director of ESI.
“Mr Southall attempted to unilaterally, and without any authority, change the directors of ESI via unauthorised use of the code from Companies House and removed all the directors.
“As a result, two weeks ago, an emergency injunction was taken out against Mr Southall and, four days later, a full hearing took place, in which the court held that Mr Southall was unlawful in his actions.
“Mr Southall failed to provide a statement, and sought instead to rely upon a statement on his behalf from one of his lawyers. That statement was criticised and Mr Southall was ordered to pay £21,000 costs.
“This introduction to British football has left Mr Nimer, not surprisingly, with a bitter taste and he decided, that if a suitable buyer could be found, he would sell.
“I have known Paul Elliott for some time and I was aware that he had ambitions to acquire a football club. Knowing there was an opportunity at Charlton I naturally told him but, and this is important, I have acted for the Club in preparing all documentation on behalf of Mr Elliott and his consortium to be presented to The EFL.
“Mr Elliot was represented by a QC, and Mr Nimer was represented by a Barrister.
“Charlton Athletic are currently in discussion with The EFL in relation to providing further information requested from them.
“The EFL requested a meeting with ESI and Mr Elliots consortium. The first ‘constructive talks’ took place on Wednesday with further discussion planned.
“It is very important to stress, that as soon as the acquisition is complete I will resign my position at ESI. I have no long term ambition to remain as a director of.
“There are two other matters I wish to address, namely my involvement with Bury Football Club and Salisbury Football Club.
“I acted on behalf of Salisbury FC and was successful in obtaining an injunction against an owner who was unlawfully taking monies out of the Club and purporting to represent the Club.
“The injunction was successful in the short term. After the injunction I did not act on behalf of the Club.
“Shortly after this matter and due to a series of disputes with owners and directors of the Club, the Club went into administration. I played no part in this in any formal capacity or otherwise.
“To suggest otherwise would be highly defamatory and will be actionable.
“In relation to Bury, I was approached by the Clubs representatives, to assist and act for the club in relation to its legal position.
“It became apparent, very quickly, that the club would not survive unless owner Steve Dale was removed. lt was our opinion that monies were being taken out of the club and administration was a very real threat.
“We provided unequivocal advice to the EFL that the removal of Mr Dale was absolutely necessary.
“I did not charge any monies for the work at Bury. My ambition was to try and help the club survive.
“Contrary to ridiculous suggestions, Mr Southall was never involved at any stage and I did not work, or have any previous relationship with Mr Dale.
“I tried everything I could to help Bury Football Club and so, to suggest anything to contrary is ridiculous.
“I apologise for the length of this statement. It is most unusual for a person in my position to issue such a statement.
“I wish nothing but the very best for Charlton Athletic and it’s supporters and I truly hope the current deal will be ratified to allow the new owners being planning for the club’s future.
“You are of course entitled to your opinion . But at least be armed with the facts. And try to remain professional, courteous, and stay on the right side of the law.
“I will not be commenting further, I certainly will not be responding to individuals who feel it is right and proper to post allegations on social media.
* For any media or marketing enquires please contact James Fletcher at Onside PR by using the following email: IPSLaw@onsidepr.com