Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley is found GUILTY of multiple counts of fraud – with the ramifications of the verdict likely to impact the league’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test
- Pilley has owned the club since 2004 and his firm BES Utilities is a key sponsor
- The owner’s conviction could see him subject to a ‘Disqualifying Condition’
- The 52-year-old has also owned League of Ireland side Waterford FC since 2022
Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley was found guilty on four counts of fraud on Friday following an eight-month trial.
Pilley’s firm BES Utilities stood accused of a multi-million pound fraud involving the mis-selling of energy supply contracts to small businesses.
The 52-year-old was found guilty on all the charges, which include two counts of running a business with the intention of defrauding creditors, one count of false representations, and one count of being concerned with the retention of criminal property.
Alongside Pilley, his sister, Michelle Davidson, 49, of Holmefield Avenue, Cleveleys, Lee Qualter, 52, of Holmefield Avenue, Celeveleys, and Joel Chapman, 38, of Kingston Road, Willerby, were also found guilty of a number of fraud offences.
Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley was found guilty of four counts of fraud on Friday
Pilley’s conviction will likely have consequences for the ownership of the Lancastrian side
Pilley was remanded in custody after the jury delivered their unanimous verdict and the presiding judge, Judge Knowles KC, has indicated that the businessman will likely face a prison term when sentenced on May 23.
Friday’s guilty verdict could yet have lasting ramifications for the League One outfit, which has been owned by Pilley since 2004.
In a statement shared by the EFL, a spokesperson said: ‘The EFL notes today’s guilty verdict by the court in respect of the case involving Fleetwood Town Chairman Andy Pilley.
‘The League will now discuss the implications of the decision with officials at the Club in the context of the Owners’ and Directors’ Test.
‘No further comment will be made at this time.’
Appendix 3 of the EFL Owners’ and Directors’ Test prevents anyone who is ‘subject to a “Disqualifying Condition”‘ from running or influencing the running of a football club.
Criminal convictions in any offence involving a ‘Dishonest Act’ – such as larceny or fraud – or corruption is one of a number of ‘disqualifying conditions’ mentioned in the appendix, which aims to uphold the EFL’s ‘image and integrity’.
Pilley was charged with the allegations in September 2021, following a five-year investigation by Trading Standards into BES Utilities.
The company has been the club’s main sponsor for 18 years, and in the wake of the verdict, Fleetwood Town issued their own statement that ‘noted the verdict’.
It read: ‘Fleetwood Town Football Club acknowledges the verdict in the court case involving club Chairman, Andy Pilley. The Chairman would like to reassure supporters the Club will continue to operate as normal.
BES Utilities has been the League One outfit’s main sponsor for over 16 years (stock image)
‘Today’s verdicts will not affect the running or future of Fleetwood Town Football Club. The Club is already in talks with the EFL regarding the next steps and will be making no further comment at this time.’
Alongside Fleetwood Town, Pilley also owns League of Ireland First Division side Waterford after purchasing the club in August 2022.
In 2021, Pilley discussed his plan to launch a Manchester City-style multi-club ownership model to boost Fleetwood Town’s revenue.
The club purchased Fleetwood United in Dubai, and Western Cape Fleetwood in South Africa, with the aim of boosting the club’s player pool and strengthening Fleetwood Town’s international academy.