Hartlepool Supporters Trust issue new statement on fundraising position
Hartlepool United Supporters Trust has postponed the launch of a fundraising campaign.
In a statement released today, the trust, which has around 900 members, says it supports the efforts of fans to raise money to try to save the club from administration.
But it says under its constitution it cannot raise money directly for the club and must remain independent until the trust has a representative on the board of Hartlepool United.
It follows a meeting on Monday night with Jeff Stelling and supporter Rachel Cartwright who started a JustGiving page to raise £200,000 for the club which is facing the prospect of administration.
The trust statement says: "On the back of those discussions, and after speaking to Supporters Direct, we have decided to further postpone our fund-raising launch, which we had initially planned for last week, while we seek further legal advice and so as not to conflict with the fundraising taking place in the run up to Saturday’s game with Wrexham.
"While we support all efforts to save the Club, as part of our Constitution we must remain independent of Hartlepool United Football Club until such time that supporters have a representative on the Board of HUFC.
"Having one unified fund-raising campaign is of course attractive, however, as a Trust the wording on the current JustGiving page causes us many challenges.
"What we cannot do under our Community Benefit Purpose is fund raise directly on behalf of the club owners/managers which the JustGiving page commits to do.
"Much of the money that is currently needed is for salaries and as a Trust we cannot pay those salaries or administer donations which will go towards them, without attracting the attention of HMRC, or leaving ourselves open to a potential claim for tax and National Insurance.
"In addition, many of our members and prospective donors, have told us that they do not want the Trust to give money directly to the club, particularly without access to the club’s accounts.
"The Trust is in ongoing talks with potential investors and met another last night who has specifically stated the desire for Supporters Trust involvement. We will continue in our efforts to bring interested parties together, and to work in what we believe is in the best interests of Hartlepool United FC."
Members of the Trust board are due to attend an open meeting for fans tonight at South Durham Steelworks Club, in Westbourne Road, Hartlepool, to discuss potential ways forward and is say they will make a further statement later in the week.