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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Cardiff chief rejects debt claim
Peter Ridsdale
Peter Ridsdale has urged Sam Hammam to get in touch
Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale has urged former owner Sam Hammam to get in touch to avoid a messy court battle over a debt of 30m.

The club have been threatened with legal action over money owed to financial backers, Langston.

It began when the club borrowed 24m when Hammam was in charge.

Ridsdale says the club's lawyers are adamant their debt is not due back until 2016 despite Langston's demands that 30m should be repaid now.

"If we go to court we have a case which is clear and robust," Ridsdale said.

I'm slightly disappointed they have made this announcement without any attempt to contact me or the board

Peter Ridsdale

Urging Hammam and Langston to get in touch, he added: "The problem with going to court is that it will cost money that Dave Jones could be spending on the team."

He said all contact with Langston had been made through previous chairman Hammam.

That communication appears to have broken down with the relationship between Ridsdale and the eccentric Lebanese millionaire growing increasingly strained.

Ridsdale expressed astonishment at the claim from Langston's solicitors Hextalls that the club's board were mismanaging their finances and misleading supporters.

'Absolutely adamant'

The club's original debt to Langston was 24m with that figure rising to 30m because of interest.

However, Ridsdale claims this was adjusted to 15m in October 2006, with 9m written off in exchange for naming rights on the new stadium.

Ridsdale has said the Cardiff City Board are in possession of signed documents confirming the balance of 15m is to be paid by 31st December 2016.

He said: "I have a signed agreement in my office which states we owe a re-negotiated debt of 15m re-payable by 31 December, 2016.

"We are obviously keen to avoid going to court but if it does our lawyers are absolutely adamant that we don't have to re-pay anything til 2016."

Ridsdale added: "When we first found out about this two weeks ago, I made an attempt to contact Mr Hammam.

"But he texted back saying he wasn't prepared to talk to us any more and had also been instructed by Hextalls not to contact us.

'Go between'

"It would appear that Mr Hammam is aware of the situation but as we have no way of contacting both him or Langston we would ask them to contact us.

"I'm slightly disappointed they have made this announcement without any attempt to contact me or the board.

"Unfortunately we are in no position to contact Langston as Sam Hammam acted as an intermediary so that is why we can't get in touch with them.

"Unless Mr Hammam comes to the table or Langston come to the table it will go to the court."

And Ridsdale has moved to calm the fears of supporters that Cardiff City are on the verge of another crisis, saying the club were in "robust financial health".

He added that he thought there was a "hidden agenda" but did not know who behind it.

606: DEBATE

"It would be surprising if Langston have a hidden agenda as they have a written agreement, which we will honour and we will repay them every penny we owe them on or before the date it's due," said Ridsdale.

"It is my intention to pay it earlier. If someone else has a hidden agenda it would be nice of them to say who it is."

Meanwhile, Vince Alm, of Cardiff City Supporters Club, said he met Hammam in south Wales, who had offered to act as a mediator.

Mr Alm said the former club chairman also denied any involvement in the Langston statement.

"He's offering himself as a mediator, as a go between, between both parties..that's what he says he's down here for," said Mr Alm.

"He said he was down here to offer any help he can."

SEE ALSO
Cardiff facing court over '30m'
15 Aug 07 |  Cardiff City
BBC Sport Wales coverage
24 Dec 06 |  Wales


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