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Club News

Club Announce Preferred Investor

25 March 2024

Club News

Club Announce Preferred Investor

25 March 2024

Following the expiration of a period of exclusivity with World Soccer Holdings LLC, Rochdale AFC is delighted to announce that it has been approached by, and has subsequently confirmed, the Ogden Family as its preferred investor in the Club.

After several detailed meetings with the Club, as well as the Supporters Trust Chairman and Board representative, we will now work tirelessly over the next month so that due diligence can be completed, and future business plans put in place.

Rochdale AFC Chairman Simon Gauge stated: “This is a different type of football investment, in that it is primarily driven by the recognition of, and motivation to preserve, the significant community value that clubs like ours provide. 

“The Ogden Family recognise the history that our Football Club has and are motivated to help us achieve sustainability so that we will be at the heart of our community for another 100 years and beyond.

“We hope that the Government, along with the Premier League, EFL, National League, and other stakeholders, also recognise the community value that clubs like ours provide to communities up and down the country.

“If this is the case, they must agree on a distribution model that allows us and others to run in a sustainable way and create a proper pyramid with three up and three down from the National League to the EFL. 

“A system with only one automatic promotion place available encourages clubs to gamble on promotion and operate in an unsustainable manner. This must be scrapped.

“I would also like to put on record my thanks to Rochdale Borough Council and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, for their support to this point and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we strive to complete the best outcome for the Club and community.”

The Club will make no further comment on the proposed investment whilst it assists the Ogden Family in carrying out a further period of engagement before a purchase of shares in the Club is completed.

The Ogden Family have released the below statement:

We are a family with strong Rochdale roots. Sir Peter Ogden and Lady Ogden were born in Rochdale. Our charitable trust, the Ogden Trust, which primarily supports the teaching and learning of physics in under-represented groups, has various ongoing initiatives in Rochdale schools.

We were made aware of the Club’s difficulties in recent weeks, and we held constructive initial meetings with the Club and the Dale Supporters Trust. We have since been monitoring the situation while the Club has been in exclusive discussions with WSH LLC. We were informed that the exclusivity period has expired and have since stepped up our discussions and diligence efforts.

In our view, the Club (and the Rochdale AFC Community Trust which is so closely associated with it) are community assets of immense value which need to survive. We intend to make an offer to the Club, but we need some time to ensure that our diligence is completed, and our offer can be properly formulated. Perhaps most importantly, we would like to ensure that all stakeholders have sufficient chance to review and consider our proposal. However, given the Club’s severe financial difficulties, time is not on our side.

To allow us the necessary time, we are making sufficient funds available to the Club to enable it to operate for the next 30 days. By the expiry of that period, we plan to have completed our diligence and formulated and presented our offer such that, assuming it is acceptable to the Club, we can conclude an investment before the end of the season.

We will use this period to actively engage with all stakeholders, including the town’s political figures, creditors and sponsors to ensure they are prepared to play their part in ensuring the survival of the club. This period will also be used to formulate our future plans for both First Team and Academy operations.

At this stage, we would like to set out the broad principles which will underpin our offer:

  1. Our sole short-term motivation is to ensure that the Club survives its current financial crisis and remains a going concern and a community asset with the interests of the community at heart;
  2. In the medium-term, our ambition is to assist the Club to become financially sustainable regardless of football success. We do not believe there is a silver bullet solution, but we hope our investment will give the Club the time (and resource) needed to properly explore the available options and then execute them as efficiently as possible;
  3. Our offer is not financially motivated. The shares we would acquire will be held in trust for the benefit of the Rochdale AFC Community Trust and our decisions will be made solely in the best interests of the Club and the community;
  4. We fully support the conclusions of the Fan Led Review – particularly in so far as they relate to governance and supporter engagement – and our offer will be consistent with their recommendations.

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