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Blackpool chief hits back in letter

Blackpool currently have only 11 registered players and no goalkeeper.

The turmoil surrounding Championship club Blackpool this summer has intensified after chairman Karl Oyston released an open letter hitting out at president Valeri Belokon.

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Latvian businessman Belokon, who has a 20 percent stake in the Seasiders, accused the Oyston family of having "channelled away more than 24 million pounds" and alleged that they had put financial gain ahead of football.

He claimed the Oystons had moved money to other family companies in the form of interest-free loans without his approval, and had taken more than 11.5 million pounds out of the club in salaries.

With time running out before the season starts, Blackpool -- in the Premier League in 2010-11 -- have only 11 registered players and no goalkeeper.

Supporters have held demonstrations calling for Oyston to quit, with many saying they would like to see Belokon in charge at Bloomfield Road.

But in his open letter, published in the Blackpool Gazette, Oyston hit back, defending his family's running of the club -- and said the Latvian was demanding 24 million pounds.

The letter claimed the businessman had pressed Blackpool to buy out his stake for that sum.

It read: "This, Valeri, if had we agreed to pay 24 million pounds, would have given you a massive profit of virtually three times the original combined cost of your shares, which cost you 1.8 million pounds, with a further 6.6 million pound loan from you to contribute towards the construction and fit-out of the south and south-west stands.

"You have already taken 1.86 million pounds from the football club.''

Oyston said his father Owen and the family "have funded the club since the day he got involved 27 years ago" and that Oyston senior "has never taken a penny in dividends or any salary or any consultancy fees."

He said the 24 million pounds mentioned by Belokon had been used in part to pay off loans taken out to modernise Bloomfield Road and "provide BFC with income streams" and that the loans were from Oyston group companies which had not taken profit or interest from them.

He also expressed surprise that the Blackpool Supporters' Trust and Seasiders Independent Supporters' Association had backed Belokon.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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