Cardiff City compete in their first FA Cup semi-final since 1927, when they take on Championship rivals Barnsley at Wembley next month. With only one Premiership side left in the famous old competition, never has the Welsh side had such a great chance of bringing the Cup back to Ninian Park for the first time in 81 years.
While City fans are concentrating on getting tickets for the big game, the club’s board is focusing on a far greater issue – a make-or-break ruling over the club’s financial future. City’s creditors Langston are taking the Bluebirds to the High Qiu Qiu Court this week over £24m worth of unpaid loan notes, which chairman Cardiff Peter Ridsdale insists are not due to be repaid until 2016. Should the Swiss-based financier win the court case, Cardiff City would have to make immediate repayments, inevitably forcing the club, already £30m plus in debt, into administration.
Cardiff City are fully aware of the precarious nature of their current position, especially given that building work is already underway on the construction of their new £29m stadium. Ridsdale admits that should City lose their legal battle, the ramifications would “materially damage the club”. The knock-on punishment for entering administration would see Cardiff stripped of 10 Championship league points, which would plunge them into the relegation zone. The financial implications of losing their fight would also bring about a mass sale of the club’s best assets. Young stars such as Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey would be amongst those likely to leave Ninian Park in a desperate effort to balance the books.
The threat of administration has hung over Cardiff City for a number of years, a situation exacerbated by the uncertainty over repayments to Langston. Welsh international Chris Gunter was sold …