Football: Venables faces legal action by Tottenham: Decision on England job delayed

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR have applied to have a company central to Terry Venables' business dealings wound up. The petition against Edennote, the company used by Venables when he bought into Tottenham with Alan Sugar in 1991, will be heard next month.

The petition has been brought because Tottenham claim that Edennote owes them pounds 430,000, which were the costs they incurred as a result of Edennote's unsuccessful action to have Venables restored as the club's chief executive last summer. A court will rule next week exactly how much Edennote has to pay Spurs.

If Edennote is wound up, Tottenham's lawyers, Herbert Smith, are to press for two mortgages guaranteeing debts totalling pounds 1.66m granted last August by Edennote to Venables and to his lawyers, Kanter Jules Grangewood, to be struck off.

Herbert Smith will claim that these were unfair preferences granted by Edennote as they mean that Venables and his lawyers would be paid before other creditors if Edennote was wound up. Venables is one of only two remaining directors of Edennote. The other is his wife, Yvette.

The winding up of Edennote could increase the chances of Venables being disqualified as a director of limited companies. Such a move could conceivably make it difficult for him to perform the tasks of England manager. The Football Association still seems likely to offer Venables the post, although an announcement has been delayed.

The FA is a limited company and the Insolvency Act states that a disqualified director cannot 'in any way be involved directly or indirectly in the promotion, formation or management of a company' and defines management as 'having influence over the internal or external affairs of the company'. In that situation, the FA may have to ask the court for a ruling on whether Venables' duties as England manager would breach the law.

Liquidators to another group of which Venables was a director are to look into an unusual transaction by which Edennote borrowed pounds 1m from Landhurst Leasing, a financial group now in receivership and the subject of a Serious Fraud Office enquiry. The loan was raised on the security of only pounds 87,420 of assets owned by a third company, Tranatlantic Inns, of which Venables had been a director. Transatlantic Inns collapsed last year.

Recallcity, another company of which Venables was a director, was wound up last month. A third company, Scribes West, which owns the Kensington bar managed by Venables and his wife, was saved from a winding-up petition yesterday in a last-minute deal with a creditor owed pounds 130,000.

The liquidators of companies which collapse are required by law to make a report to the Department of Trade and Industry into the conduct of the directors and management of a company. If they believe the directors have acted incorrectly, they can recommend disqualification.

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