The Indian consortium set to takeover Northampton Town Football Club has pulled out of the deal, it has been confirmed this afternoon.
The mystery London-based group of businessmen had signed a heads of term agreement to buy the club in June.
But in the last few moments a spokesman has issued a statement on behalf of the consortium, announcing it would be “reluctantly” pulling out of the deal because of a number of “insurmountable” complications.
A spokesperson for Northampton Town said the talks had already moved onto other interested parties and the club was in “advanced discussions” with other representatives.
The statement from the Indian consortium said: “We are sad to announce that we are no longer pursuing our interest in buying Northampton Town Football Club.
“Over the last few months we have been involved in detailed negotiations with the club’s owners and the local authority, which had reached an advanced stage in the last few weeks.
“We believed – and still believe - that the club has huge potential. It has been starved of investment for too long and it was our intention to put this right.
“We had drawn up detailed plans to pay off the club’s debts and upgrade the club’s infrastructure, re-developing the stadium and building a new training ground, as well as investing in the playing squad. We also planned to re-develop the land around the stadium with a new hotel and retail complex to bring inward investment into the town.
“However, during the process of due diligence, which is integral to any business deal, it became apparent that there were a number of complications surrounding the proposed acquisition.
“Sadly, at a very late stage in the process we concluded that these problems were insurmountable and, with great reluctance, decided we had no option but to withdraw our offer for the club.
“This has never been a vanity project for the consortium, which is why we have not previously publicised our involvement; we are serious investors who believed Northampton was the ideal location for a thriving football club.
“We would like to wish the club and its supporters the very best for the future.”
A spokesman for Northampton Town said: “We have given them ample time to complete the deal, and nothing seems to be forthcoming.
“We had moved on to other parties a while back and we are in advanced talks with a number parties.
“This is a terrific football club with huge potential and once we have dealt with the council debt it will not have any debt and it is a very strong proposition, hence why there are other interested parties in buying it,” he added.
The club now has until Thursday to pay back the £10.25 million loan it received from Northampton Borough Council to complete its stadium development.
Last month the council revealed it would be calling for the full amount to be repaid as the club had not been meeting repayment instalments.
Leader of Northampton’s Labour opposition group, Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) said she was not surprised by the collapsed deal.
She said: “Who would want to buy a football club that owes the local authority £10.25 million?
“Development of the land and the new stadium stand has become quite complex and I guess these potential buyers came to the conclusion that the risk and uncertainty just wasn’t worth it in the end.
“I hope now details of the negotiations with the Indian Consortium will be made public and why they took so long. Also their identity should be revealed. There is nothing now to hide surely. Where this leaves the present owner is too early to say. Will they now try and sale NTFC to someone else? Nobody knows yet.”
A spokeswoman for Northampton Borough Council, said: “The deadline by which we have required the club to pay back the loan falls later this week and when it does, we will then consider our next steps.
“We remain open to talking to the football club and any new buyers who may come forward at this late stage.”