Owners confident amid Birmingham unrest

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The Independent Football

Birmingham's owners have moved to reassure supporters that they will not lose control of the club over a payment dispute with an investment bank.

Birmingham International Holdings, the company led by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung which owns the club, had been ordered by a court to pay a £2.2million 'success fee' to Seymour Pierce for the latter's role in BIH's takeover. The deadline for the payment to be received passed on Monday and the bank now say they can now gain a charge of the shares held by BIH and in effect take control of the club.

However, BIH are adamant that that has not - and cannot - happen and are seeking leave to appeal against the original court order.

Their statement read: "Birmingham International Holdings Limited acknowledges that it has been in litigation with Seymour Pierce disputing the payment of fees and that summary judgment had been obtained by Seymour Pierce in relation thereto.

"Birmingham International Holdings Limited is currently seeking leave to appeal the decision.

"Birmingham International Holdings Limited stresses that the amount in dispute is immaterial to it and if payment is required to be made, will not have any material adverse effect on its financial condition or business.

"It is stressed that Birmingham International Holdings Limited has not and will not lose control of Birmingham City Football Club as a result of this litigation."

Seymour Pierce had advised Yeung prior to the takeover of Birmingham, but Yeung then appointed a different company to complete the deal.

However, Seymour Pierce successfully argued its contract remained valid and it was owed the money.

Seymour Pierce spokesman Neil Bennett told Sky Sports News earlier today: "Seymour Pierce can take a charge over the shares of Birmingham City and do what they need to do with them to recover the money it is owed, so that means they could potentially sell them to another owner.

"They haven't paid so in effect they are in contempt of court and Seymour Pierce has taken the necessary steps to effectively take control of Birmingham City to recover the debt."

Meanwhile,.Yeung has revealed plans for an X Factor-style series of auditions which could unearth a Chinese talent good enough to grace the Premier League.

Yeung is keen to raise the midlands club's profile in the Far East and China in particular, and believes a football talent show will do just that, as well as hopefully discover new talent for Blues boss Alex McLeish to work with.

Yeung told FC Business and The Independent: "We'll send coaches from England, and the top boys who are selected will have a promotional attachment with our training school. We are working out the details now and the programme is imminent. That will give us exposure on TV on a weekly basis, starting in Hong Kong, then hopefully in China."