College set for ‘inevitable’ court battle with football club after mediation falls flat

The football club is suing the college for more than £160,000

The football club is suing the college for more than £160,000

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A London college is poised for a court battle following allegations it owes a six-figure debt to a football club.

Mediation talks between Stanmore College and Barnet FC to resolve the historic dispute were held last week but a settlement was not reached.

The college is accused of failing to pay fees for sponsorship of the football club’s women’s team, as well as hire of its pitches and academy training services in 2015.

Barnet’s academy alleged earlier this year that Stanmore College breached an agreement to pay more than £110,000 for those services and sued the college for £168,180 in total. But the college refused to pay up, claiming that emails between its former principal and the football academy were not on their behalf and did not show “offer and acceptance” of the deal.

The judge suspended the trial in June in the hope that the case could be settled out of court. But mediation held on July 27 failed to reach an agreement meaning a drawn-out court case appears “inevitable”, according to the football club.

In a statement, it said it was “disappointed that a settlement could not be found”.

“We would prefer to avoid any dispute with a local college – especially one with whom we had previously enjoyed a good relationship,” a spokesperson added.

“However, like any organisation, we have bills to pay and salaries to meet, so cannot allow our services to go without payment and for so long.”

Though it appears court proceedings “are now inevitable”, the football club said it is “always open to an amicable resolution”.

A spokesperson for Stanmore College confirmed that mediation talks took place on July 27, and said that the college is “progressing matters with parties concerned”. But it declined to comment further on the case.

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