DLA Piper advises on administration of Southampton FC

The company behind Southampton Football Club has fallen into administration, leading to instructions for DLA Piper, Clarke Willmott and Dundas & Wilson.

London-based DLA Piper restructuring and insolvency partner Michael Fiddy is acting for Begbies Traynor partners Mark Fry and David Hudson, who put Southampton Leisure Holdings, the AIM-listed company which owns the football club, into administration this morning.

The club is being advised by Clarke Willmott, with restructuring partner Matt Barker and corporate and sports partner Trevor Watkins leading.

Southampton FC is facing a possible points deduction as the Football League penalises clubs that are allowed to go into administration. The club is hoping to escape sanctions because it is a subsidiary of the company.

Dundas & Wilson corporate recovery partner John Verill is advising the Football League in the negotiations.

Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe, a former Deutsche Bank banker, resigned today alongside director Andrew Cohen and Michael Wilde.

The club’s shares were suspended yesterday after it failed to agree an overdraft extension with Barclays Bank.

DLA Piper had been acting for the lenders, Barclays and Norwich Union, before being appointed by the administrators this morning.

The firm has previous experience acting on football club insolvencies, having advised on the administrations of Portsmouth Football Club in 1998 and Leicester Football Club in 2002. Fiddy is a former managing director of Fulham Football Club.

Southampton Leisure Holdings has been struggling since the club was relegated from the Premiership in 2005. The company is believed to owe £4m to Barclays and around £24m to Norwich Union for the construction of its 30,000 stadium four years ago.