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The Raith Trust have issued the following Press Release regarding this week’s events in Starks Park Properties:

The Raith Trust have raised concerns about the future of Starks Park Properties (SPP) Ltd, the company that owns Starks Park. In a General Meeting held on Tuesday, Thailand based John Sim, the majority shareholder (owning 51% of the company) acting through a lawyer removed all three directors of the company, replacing them with himself as the sole director.  This included the removal of Alex Condie, the outgoing supporters representative on the board of Raith Rovers.

It is understood that Mr Sim’s actions have been driven by a desire to safeguard the future of Starks Park – and that through controlling the club’s most significant asset he will in turn be able to improve the governance and financial accountability of the football club. While these objectives cannot be criticised, the Raith Trust believe Mr Sim could better achieve these through his significant investment in the football club itself, and by working with the current board of the football club.  Any scenario where a major shareholder pays more attention to the stadium than the football club sets alarm bells ringing amongst all football fans.

Starks Park Properties was originally established (as West City) to ensure Raith Rovers survival at a time when the football club was experiencing significant financial difficulties.  The company was set up to take advantage of the borrowing powers that weren’t available to the football club – it’s sole purpose was to facilitate the continuing survival and development of the football club.  Following the successful conclusion of the Reclaim the Rovers campaign, Mr Sim took up a 51% stake in SPP in return for providing a personal guarantee to the bank.  Whilst RRFC and SSP were controlled by the same individuals the two companies shared a common interest – the continuing survival and wellbeing of the football club; but by separating control of the two companies the priorities are not the same, and potential conflicts of interest have been created.  Mr Sim stands to benefit if the football club (in which he is a major shareholder) is unable to pay the rent to the stadium management company (in which he is the majority shareholder and sole director).  Mr Sim is now in a position of being both landlord and tenant.

The voices of the minority shareholders, who include the Raith Trust on behalf of all the fans who contributed to the Reclaim the Rovers campaign, can no longer be heard in the SPP boardroom.

The Raith Trust are committed to the long term prosperity of Raith Rovers, and to ensuring that the club is run in a democratic and transparent manner.  These changes in the SPP boardroom eradicate any sense of democracy and cloud the windows of transparency, and our fear is that this could one day threaten the future of Raith Rovers.  Despite discussions with Mr Sim little is known of his long-term intentions, and until concrete plans are in place for the future direction of SPP these fears will remain.

Three years that have passed since the conclusion of the Reclaim the Rovers campaign, and the change in ownership it introduced, have seen a gradual stabilisation of the club’s finances and a significant improvement in the team’s performances.  Assurances are needed from Mr Sim that this progress will not be jeopardised by this week’s developments, along with his detailed proposals for the future of SPP and his involvement in the football club.

The Raith Trust’s AGM will be held tomorrow evening, the 27th of November at 7pm in the Raith Suite at Starks Park, where these developments will be discussed further along with the formal business of the AGM.  All members are encouraged to attend.

Note to editors:

The Reclaim The Rovers campaign in 2005 created a consortium of shareholders under the name of New Raith Rovers (NRR) Ltd. NRR holds a majority share in Raith Rovers Holdings Ltd (the majority shareholder in Raith Rovers Football Club Ltd) and a minority share in Starks Park Properties (SPP) Ltd. John Sim is one of the shareholders in NRR and also holds the majority share in SPP in his own right. The complex ownership structure of these four companies that comprise Raith Rovers is shown in detail on the attached factsheet.

The factsheet referred to in the footnote is a representation of the “Who Owns What” article previously published on this website.

We’re sure that these developments will generate a lot of discussion; please use the comments field below to let us know your thoughts.

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