Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is ‘set to make a shock bail-out offer to save cash-strapped Yorkshire and wipe out £16m of debt’, although he faces competition from India and Saudi Arabia and has no plans to buy a club
- Mike Ashley is ready to make a big cash injection into Yorkshire
- Newcastle’s divisive former owner has no plans to buy the club, however
- The stricken county’s debts stand at £16m and they are open to investment
Mike Ashley is set to make an offer next week to wipe out Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s £16million debt.
The former owner of Newcastle United has no plans to buy the club but is ready to make a major cash injection, The Telegraph reported last night.
Ashley is expected to outline her plans shortly. Financial backers linked to Indian Premier League outfit Delhi Capitals and intermediaries representing Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are also interested in Yorkshire.
If Ashley’s bid proves successful, Yorkshire could give him a seat on the board.
Yorkshire’s latest accounts showed ‘a cash-flow shortfall over and above the club’s existing borrowing facilities will run out at the end of 2023, and without additional funding of around £3.5m the club will cannot continue as a going concern.’
Mike Ashley is set to make an offer next week to pay off Yorkshire’s £16million debts
However, Newcastle’s former owner (pictured, left) is not planning to buy the struggling club
Any proposed investment requires member approval but Ashley’s offer could prove acceptable for a club on the brink after the Azeem Rafiq storm.
The Telegraph added that Yorkshire’s most valuable asset is Headingley, and it is possible that the basis could be security in return for Ashley shouldering the debt.
Ashley left Newcastle amid bitter criticism from supporters for his lack of spending on transfers and infrastructure, although any role in Yorkshire is likely to be limited to him stabilizing the club and making his first step in cricket.
According to the report, Ashley would love the chance to fend off interest and secure a deal ahead of Saudi Arabia. The same outlet claims that the businessperson is likely to have the power, with direct talks with the Saudis yet to take place.
Yorkshire executives have not looked to sell a stake in the club but are understood to be exploring other avenues, including debt refinancing.
Overall, the package is said to be worth £20m.
It is possible that Headingley (above) was a security in return for Ashley returning the loan
Lord Kamlesh Patel’s reign saw the club pay £3.5m in legal fees and severance.
In December, Yorkshire turned to refinancing and restructuring experts FRP Advisory in a bid to attract £20m worth of much-needed new investment.
Ashley and her rivals will be looking to secure a deal as soon as possible. The situation has become complicated, however, with the club still in the process of appointing a new chair. Lord Kamlesh Patel will step down at the next annual county meeting.
Patel joined Yorkshire in November 2021 following the resignation of Roger Hutton in response to the club’s handling of Rafiq’s racism accusations.
He agreed a compensation package with Rafiq and ordered Yorkshire’s coaching and medical team to be sacked, leading to several settlements.
Yorkshire was also hit with a disrepute charge.
During Patel’s 16-month reign, the club paid £3.5m in legal fees and severance payments to 16 employers sacked when he took over.