Pitreavie - A SummaryThursday, 27th Mar 2014
27/03/14: A statement from DAFC's Interim Board regarding Pitreavie Playing Fields
Dunfermline Athletic Football Club (DAFC) has issued the following statement following a string of erroneous and misleading statements made in the local press by a "spokesman" for the Charlestown Holdings Ltd SSAS (the SSAS), and other closely connected parties to the former majority shareholder of DAFC, Gavin Masterton, in connection with Pitreavie and the security the SSAS has in place over DAFC's lease.
The Interim Board has attempted to deal with this sensitive and complicated matter behind closed doors, by writing to the pension scheme administrators of the SSAS, Hornbuckle Mitchell, about eight weeks ago, with the information contained within the second part of this document, to attempt to resolve the matter in a professional and dignified manner.
At the same time, Gavin Masterton and John Yorkston (as trustees of the SSAS) were both provided with a copy of the correspondence, with the information contained within this document. No response has been received from either Mr Masterton or Mr Yorkston to dispute the facts presented by the Interim Board, from reviewing the records of the Club.
However, a meeting was arranged between Hornbuckle Mitchell and representatives of the Interim Board, but despite making many requests to be provided with an update since the meeting, DAFC had received no formal response from Hornbuckle Mitchell until last week. We received an email stating that no response would be forthcoming due to data protection restrictions. This, coupled with the misleading comments being made in the local press, leaves the Interim Board with no option other than to put the relevant facts relating to Pitreavie into the public domain so that these are understood by the community of West Fife.
• Until now, Pars United has refrained from making any public comments about the previous regime at DAFC in general and Mr Masterton in particular. However, the arcane arrangements put in place in relation to Pitreavie make it impossible for Pars United to "move on" and focus on the development of the Football Club, both on the field and in the community.
• As referred to above, the supporters of our Club (on whom the long term future of our Club depends) are being confused by misleading statements regarding Pitreavie from the remaining parts of Mr Masterton's business structure (Charlestown Holdings, the SSAS, The Pars Trust), published, without challenge, in the local press.
• Mr Masterton and former Chairman, John Yorkston, are two of the trustees of the SSAS, which holds a security over our Club's lease at Pitreavie, for a loan previously provided to them, to which they have not met all of the necessary loan repayments. The Interim Board intend to challenge the validity of this security, as despite previous assertions that this was approved and consented to by the previous Board, this was not the case. In addition, it now appears that the loan was not even provided for the benefit of DAFC.
• The Interim Board now intend to challenge the validity of the standard security, and our legal advisers are seeking Counsel's opinion. In addition, notifications will be made to HMRC, FCA and OSCR (the Charities regulator) and we intend to raise this matter with Members of Parliament.
• Mr Masterton and Mr Yorkston instructed their lawyers in early December to appoint Sheriff Officers to call up this security, unless DAFC repaid their original loan plus their outstanding interest commitments. Despite the calling up notice expiring in early February, they have not exercised this option and taken over the lease. Their motives are not clear. This continued uncertainty is driving away potential and much needed investment in the facility at Pitreavie, as quite understandably Fife Council will not use public money to upgrade the community site, when its ownership may lie in the hands of two individuals private pension scheme.
• DAFC sees the long term future of Pitreavie as having two aspects: first, as a sporting facility for the West Fife community, and, secondly, as a training base for the professional players and the youth system of our Club. Therefore, the Club is left with no option but to put the facts before the public. It is also disappointing that these matters are being played out in public, regarding our training base, at a time when the Club enters such a crucial stage in the playing season, as it strives to gain promotion back to the Championship through the end of season play offs. However, the Interim Board cannot allow the integrity of our Football Club to be questioned.