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Football case success boosts Axiom Stone

Axiom Stone Solicitors this week underlined its growing reputation as a leading force in the field of sports business and sports litigation.

It represented the majority shareholders which have successfully fought off an injunction which would have prevented the takeover of Charlton Athletic Football Club.

The Mayfair-based law firm acted on behalf of Panorama Magic Contracting LLC, the majority shareholder of East Street Investments Ltd and effective controller of Charlton Athletic.

Panorama Magic, with a 65% stake in East Street Investments, defended an application for an injunction brought against it by Lex Dominus Ltd, a company owned and controlled by businessman Paul Elliott.

A court in Manchester on Tuesday (1 September) heard that Mr Elliott was seeking to prevent Panorama Magic selling its shares and that the company should be compelled to sell those shares to Lex Dominus.

Mr Elliott argued that he had an agreement to buy Charlton from ESI and was justified in attempting to prevent its sale to any other party. His potential deal to buy the Club had been held up because he was appealing a decision that he had failed the English Football League’s owners and directors test.

Radcliffe Chambers barrister Lauren Kreamer, for Panorama, told the court that in failing the test, Mr Elliott was ineligible to buy the club. Any injunction imposed on a sale would have serious consequences for the Club and threaten its future.

After a four-hour initial hearing in Manchester, Judge Richard Pearce found in favour of Panorama and refused to grant the injunction. At a subsequent hearing, he ruled that Panorama was free from 9 September to sell its shares to another purchaser with a takeover of the Club able to go ahead. Lex Dominus was given seven days to appeal and also ordered to pay Panorama Magic’s costs.

Daniel Gleek, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at Axiom Stone Solicitors, said: “This was a hugely important decision for Panorama, Charlton Athletic and Axiom Stone. In the event that the injunction was ordered, this would have prevented Panorama from selling its shares to a new owner.

“The likely effect was that the Club would be unable by 12 September 2020 – the start date of the new English Football League season – to satisfy the EFL about its future funding and risk extremely serious sanctions being applied, including the possible expulsion from the League.”

The hearing attracted so much attention from the media and Charlton fans that the original online hearing crashed and delayed the start time by an hour.

Axiom Stone’s expansion into business of sport and sports litigation forms part of the full-service provided by one of the capital’s fastest-growing business law firms with offices in Mayfair, Edgware and Birmingham.