WHILE relegation from the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League could and should be a temporary setback, tonight will see an important decision made with regard to the long-term future of Cork City FC as the first steps towards a change of ownership could take place.
Members of Foras, the supporters’ trust which has owned and run the club since the beginning of the 2010 season, are to vote at a remotely held special general meeting on whether to allow Grovemoor Ltd to exercise a call-option which would give the company the opportunity to purchase the club for €1 and take on the existing liabilities.
Grovemoor is owned by Trevor Hemmings, who also controls Preston North End and has various business interests in Cork.
In February of this year, City were provided with an essential cash injection when Preston bought out the sell-on clauses that the Rebel Army held on Seán Maguire and Alan Browne.
Without such an intervention, there was a strong chance that the club would have gone out of business.
From that contact, discussions of a takeover originated and progressed, though the impact of Covid-19 slowed developments during the spring and summer.
Nevertheless, the issue has now come to the fore again and there is a chance that nine years of supporter ownership may come to an end.
Foras members are asked to think carefully about their own future vision for Cork City, seek as much information as possible and to vote accordingly, with the club’s best interests at heart.
The Foras board of management has given its unequivocal support for a yes vote tonight, reiterating that stance in a recent communication to members, though there have been strong advocates for a no as well.
However, given City’s recent financial troubles, it’s possible that there could be difficulties in securing a licence for the 2021 season if Foras were to remain as owners.
Grovemoor will not have a representative present at the meeting, but the board will read a statement on the company’s behalf.
Foras members will be allowed to ask questions prior to the vote, which is expected to take place at around 10pm.
Members unable to attend have had the opportunity to send postal votes.