Update - 09/12/2018: please see the write-up of the AGM held on 6 December 2018 for the position regarding the final balance of the fund after the refund process ended, which is £117,567. The fund remains as an emergency fund, solely for the crisis scenarios as set out in the original fund mandate. The LOFT board will bring a motion back to every AGM, so that members will have a regular chance to consider if the fund should be kept for these sole purposes or whether it should be re-purposed.
The rest of this page sets out the historic background to the fund.
LOFT launched the Leyton Orient Regeneration Fund on 2 March 2017, with an initial target of £250,000 to be used in one of a number of scenarios.
Back in March, Leyton Orient Football Club faced an uncertain future. Its then owner, Francesco Becchetti, had indicated he was willing to sell, but the level of debt at the club meant that administration, or even liquidation, could not be ruled out.
Despite Becchetti's cutting of the playing squad, there was a very real risk that he would simply stop covering the losses the club was making. Indeed, that seemed to have happened, following the announcement on 1 March that a winding-up petition had been served on the club. Even though that petition was adjourned until 12 June and the tax bill to HMRC paid, the debt to trade creditors remained in our estimation a significant six-figure sum.
And after setting up the fund, staff and player wages went unpaid for weeks.
While the best solution to Leyton Orient's situation was for Becchetti to sell the club as a going concern to a new owner, which eventually is what happened, LOFT's remit as a supporters' trust meant that we had to plan for the worst. To that end, LOFT members passed a resolution on 2 March 2017, approving the setting up of the Leyton Orient Regeneration Fund with an initial target of £250,000.
The fund would be used to help regenerate Leyton Orient FC (or, in the event of liquidation of the club, a successor ‘phoenix club’) in the following scenarios:
- Negotiated sale of the club involving LOFT
The proposed uses of the Fund are set out in the Fund proposal document - note that the initial proposal was for a target of £100k, but our members voted to set a higher target. Note that we were not raising money to pay the debts for Mr Becchetti while he remained in charge - this fund is to try and secure a better future for the club after he leaves, which was beyond doubt as being in the best interests of the club.
All donations received (net of any charges levied by PayPal or GoFundMe) will utlimately be transferred to a separate bank account held by LOFT. The fund will be maintained by LOFT until such time as it is needed for one of the above scenarios and as explained in the Fund proposal document.
In accordance with the mandate given by members on 2 March 2017, and the further resolution passed at the SGM held on 29 March 2018, larger donations will be offered back (minus any processing fees incurred) for refund, to remain in the Regeneration Fund until the 'disaster recovery' scenarios set out in the mandate come to pass, or to be given to LOFT's general funds for football community purposes (whether at Leyton Orient or to support other Trusts in crisis the way LOFT was supported) - larger donations being defined as one-off donations of £100 or more, or standing order contributions of £20 per month or more.
The remaining balance of the Regeneration Fund not eligible for refund will be kept for its original purposes - i.e. a future crisis at Leyton Orient FC, of which there have been a number in its history - until such future time as LOFT members pass a resolution to re-purpose the fund.
Updates on the progress of the fund will be posted on this page and on our Twitter account.