Owner agreement

SFA deal opens door to billionaire’s Hibs investment

Hibs will hope to bring more trophies to Easter Road (pic: Terry Murden)

The Scottish Football Association has approved Hibernian’s ‘ground-breaking’ request to allow American billionaire Bill Foley to invest in the club.

Hibs owner Ian Gordon and chief executive Ben Kensell said the agreement was reached after they gave certain undertakings and commitments to the governing body.

The club now expects AFC Bournemouth owner Foley to make a minority investment in Hibs through his Black Knight Football Club vehicle.

The 79 year-old is also a minority shareholder in French club Lorient and US National Hockey League champions Vegas Golden Knights, and is keen to expand his involvement in football into Scotland.

His proposal required dispensation from the SFA’s dual interest rules and Hibs now hope to benefit from being part of Bournemouth’s recruitment and player development programme.

The investment proposal will now be ratified at the club’s Annual General Meeting next month.

In a statement, the Gordon family that owns Hibs, said: “Through very positive conversations with the Scottish FA in regard to their rules and regulations, specifically Article 13, and following a series of meetings, we can confirm their approval of our minority investment proposal. With that approval, we have also signed agreements between Black Knight Football Club and Hibernian FC.”

The Gordon Family offered particular thanks to Mr Kensell “for his tireless work and efforts over the last eight months.

“Ben has played an integral role throughout this process, completing extensive due diligence, and ensuring the growth this investment will help us achieve.”

The family said the deal would be in keeping with the late Ron Gordon’s wishes when he acquired the club in 2019. Mr Gordon died early last year.

“Ron’s vision, and long-term plan, included bringing in a minority partner, like Black Knight, which would help us achieve our goals,” said the family. “We share the same values and ambitions as Black Knight in our partnership. Our continued commitment to building a winning and successful club is unwavering.

Ronald Gordon
Ron Gordon: wanted to bring a minority shareholder to Hibs (pic: Terry Murden)

“Over the past 12 months we have invested in the Club and made positive strides. We have improved the infrastructure at Easter Road and HTC, grown our club-controlled income, increased the first team player budget, and driven the Club forward commercially.

“The year ahead includes developing the space inside the Famous Five Stand, introducing safe standing, and continuing to make HTC a high-performance training centre. We take pride in the journey and progress of this Football Club; our commitment remains to meet the high expectations of Ron and our supporters and achieve sustained success on and off the pitch.

“We would like to thank every one of you, our Hibernian FC supporters. The last 12 months have been challenging for the family, and we are immensely grateful for your outpouring of love and support. Our sincerest gratitude to Ben Kensell and Malcolm McPherson for their leadership and to the entire staff for their unity in helping the Club during this difficult time.

“We see the bright future ahead, one we can all be proud of.”

Mr Kensell took to social media to describe the agreement as “an incredibly proud and significant moment for me and this great club following eight months of hard work. Just the AGM to follow in February.”

“Thanks to Bill Foley, Ryan Caswell and the Gordon family and to everyone involved in the process. This is hugely significant and I wish Ron was here to see it.

“Ground breaking for Scottish Football. Game Changing for Hibernian Football Club.”

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