London: Former England striker Gary Lineker is heading a takeover bid for first division Leicester City which asked to be placed into financial administration on Monday to protect it from creditors.
Leicester chairman Greg Clarke said a consortium headed by Lineker, a life-long Leicester supporter who played for the “Foxes” from 1978 to 1985, wanted to buy the club from the administrators and would hold a news conference on Wednesday.
Leicester, relegated from the lucrative Premier League last season, told the London Stock Exchange it would ask the High Court to place it in the hands of administrators.
“Unfortunately, immediate creditor pressure and the inability to reach agreement with all major creditors have meant that a restructuring outside administration has not been possible despite the best efforts of the directors,” it said.
“The directors believe that administration should give the club sufficient protection to enable the restructuring which they have endeavoured to conclude over the last three months to be completed.”
Leicester is the most high profile victim of the collapse of pay TV company ITV Digital in April, which owed tens of millions of pounds to the 72 clubs outside the Premier League for the remaining two years of a three-year deal.
The club, third in the first division after losing at home to Burnley on Saturday, has also just opened a £35 million stadium, for which it out took a £28 million loan.
Last week Leicester’s players agreed to a deferral of a percentage of their wages to help the club’s finances. The club’s shares were suspended on October 10.
Clarke said the company had come very close to reaching an agreement with its creditors but “the situation had become impossible to resolve”.
“Whilst this is a severe setback for the club it does not mean the end of Leicester City,” Clarke told the club’s website.
“The objective of the (consortium) will be to buy Leicester City as a going concern from the administrator and to back (manager) Micky Adams and the team in their quest for promotion.
“Progress on the formation of the consortium and the timelines involved in buying the club out of administration and into private ownership will be reported back as soon as possible.”
Striker Lineker, 41, earned 80 caps for England and was the top scorer of the 1986 World Cup finals. He joined Leicester as an apprentice and played nearly 300 games for the club before moving to Everton. He also played for Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Grampus Eight.
He has recently led BBC television coverage of soccer in England. Earlier this month second divison Barnsley, a Premier League club just five seasons ago, were put into administration.