Oxford United would like to clarify their position following a winding up petition from Firoka, which was issued yesterday.
The club has been working with Firoka/ Mr Kassam to come to a fair agreement over the rent and service charge which we pay for the use of the Kassam Stadium. The amount in dispute is £204,000, relating to the quarterly money due in advance for the next quarter of the year. In addition to this we also pay an extra service charge which brings the rent to approximately £1million a year.
The club and Firoka had previously agreed to sit down face to face on 26th March to discuss the charges and to try to find a way forward which would be satisfactory to all parties. The service charge has been subject to a long, drawn out arbitration hearing which the club halted after Firoka suggested that by doing so we could sit down more easily for constructive discussions. All agreed sums due to date for previously disputed service charges under the arbitration have been paid by the club.
Last week’s meeting was cancelled by Firoka at short notice. We accept that the payment had been missed but immediately asked for another meeting as well as offering to pay the outstanding amount on April 10th in the interests of allowing constructive discussions to take place with Firoka regarding the use of the stadium and to avoid any dispute proceedings being necessary.
We have tried several times since then to arrange a meeting but have been unsuccessful so far. We are extremely disappointed that a winding up petition was issued and that the press were notified. The club is reviewing its position and reserving its right to instigate further arbitration proceedings if necessary, but we remain hopeful that we can work with Firoka/Mr Kassam to finally find a FAIR deal for all concerned and for the club to work with a FAIR stadium agreement going forward.