LOFT update on club winding-up petition
A number of people have noticed that the Companies House website record for Leyton Orient FC was recently changed and a confirmation statement posted. This however is not related to the winding-up petition – a confirmation statement is a routine company filing, formerly called an annual return, which details company information such as company directors, share capital and so on.
We have this morning checked the Companies House records of all 53 companies who were noted in the London Gazette of 1 March as having been served a winding-up petition – none of these show any mention of it. Nor do the records for other football clubs who have been served winding-up petitions in recent months; further, the records for football clubs who have been wound up show that the first mention of winding-up on Companies House is at the point a court orders the company to be wound up.
It is now clear therefore that the Companies House record for Leyton Orient does not reflect in any way whether or not the debt owed to HMRC has been paid, or the status of the winding-up petition.
HMRC cannot by law comment publicly on the tax affairs of individuals or companies, so it is impossible to gain verifiable evidence about the status of the debt owed to them.
LOFT has been carrying out its own investigations, but is unable to confirm the status of the debt; the situation is a complex and evolving one, and it may be that the true picture will not emerge until the court hearing on 20 March.
In the meantime, we have been liaising urgently with creditors other than HMRC to ascertain as accurately as we can the underlying debt situation at Leyton Orient. While we cannot put a figure on it, it is apparent that there is a significant level of unpaid bills to various creditors, apart from what is owed to HMRC.
Leyton Orient fans should therefore be under no illusions; the football club is in a perilous financial situation due to the actions of its owner in not paying its bills. These actions are directly affecting the livelihoods of suppliers and employees of the club, not to mention causing an unbelievable amount of stress and worry to anyone who holds the club dear to their heart.
LOFT’s Board is working hard with legal professionals and others to ensure that we can protect the club’s future at the hearing on 20 March and beyond. We will update fans further when we can, and have resolved to hold an open meeting for all Leyton Orient supporters so that we can feed back on the ongoing situation. This will be at 7:30pm on Monday 13 March at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall, Town Hall, Forest Road, London E17 4JF
Meanwhile, LOFT’s Board would like to note its deep gratitude to all the messages of support received from all around the world and from supporters of other clubs, as well as donations received to our Regeneration Fund so far. We are also very grateful to those currently organising fundraising activities for the fund. We are currently discussing ways to raise significantly more funds to meet the fund’s aims and objectives, and hope to be in a position to discuss this more at Monday’s open meeting.