Chesterfield FC refute claim of £138k from liquidator of ex Spireites CEO Chris Turner's defunct football academy

Former Chesterfield CEO Chris Turner is now chairman at Wakefield AFC
Former Chesterfield CEO Chris Turner is now chairman at Wakefield AFC

The liquidator of a now defunct football academy is still pursuing a claim against Chesterfield FC, who insist they don't owe it.

In his second annual report, Phillip Booth, the liquidator of former Spireites CEO Chris Turner's CFC Development School Ltd, says he's pursuing claims in the sum of £138,982 against Chesterfield Football Club.

The report goes on to say that claim is made up of player wages (£14,704), other wages (£74,998), training pitch use (£14,000) and first team player accommodation (£35,280).

It adds: "Given the fact that the Company is in Liquidation and there are no funds available to me to cover the costs of issuing proceedings against the respondent, I have had to seek alternative funding to enable a daim to go ahead.

"I entered into an arrangement with Manolete Partners Plc (Manolete) for them to acquire a 50 per cent interest in the claim for a nominal cost of £2,000 which has been paid into the Liquidation estate. In return, Manolete will fund all legal costs of pursuit of the claim.

"Manolete have retained the services of Schofield Sweeney Solicitors to pursue the claim. Accountants, solicitors and the Club have been in correspondence with regards to the draft proceedings.

"No substantive or satisfactory response to the claim has been received to date and the matter is ongoing."

But Chesterfield FC company secretary Ashley Carson said today that the club has continually taken advice from their auditors and they still refute the liquidator's claim

“The club has worked very closely with our Auditors and have repeatedly submitted a robust response to these claims," he said.

“The Auditor was also content that these liabilities were not due at the Year End.

“Our last communication with Schofield Sweeney Solicitors was dealt with by our Auditors at the end of January and we have not received any further communication since.

“The club is still firmly of the opinion that it does not owe the monies stated.”

Turner and ex non-league footballer Liam Sutcliffe set up the academy, which was linked to the Spireites and based across the road from the Proact Stadium.

It ran into money trouble and was the subject of a 2016 Derbyshire Times investigation, before its relationship with Chesterfield FC eventually led to an FA probe.

It went into voluntary liquidation in 2017, owing almost £250,000 to creditors, including HMRC, Derbyshire Council Council, Sondico and Blacks Solicitors.

Turner told the Derbyshire Times in May 2017: "There were definitely no rules broken, nothing was wrong with any contracts or the FA or Football League would have pulled us up."

But a year later Chesterfield were hit by an FA charge over 'financial irregularities' over payments made to two players, by the private academy.
Two months later the Spireites received a £12,500 fine after a hearing in London.
Turner is now involved with the recently launched Wakefield AFC, along with Mike Hegarty, CEO of the Romiro Group.

In September 2016, the Romiro group's firm FBT took over the running of CFC International Football Academy, another business set up by Sutcliffe and Turner.