Louis Tomlinson's business partner says Rovers takeover is off

The takeover of Doncaster Rovers is off according to Louis Tomlinson's business partner. John Ryan and Louis Tomlinson have not passed the Football League's fit and proper person's test. The takeover was NOT dependant on the crowd-funding project.

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Tomlinson claims he was 'misled' over deal

One Direction star Louis Tomlinson has claimed he was "misled" over his efforts to step in to take over Doncaster Rovers, of whom he has been a lifelong fan.

Tomlinson says he was 'misled' over deal Credit: Press Association

He said he was "absolutely gutted" that the deal for the League One side appears not to be going ahead, but said he still aims to help the club succeed.

In a message to fans posted online, Tomlinson said he insisted he would not benefit financially from the club if the deal had occurred.

The singer announced last month, after weeks of speculation, that he was teaming up with businessman John Ryan and their takeover was expected to be formalised today.

But efforts to raise enough cash for the deal - through the Crowdfunder.co.uk website - have faltered with only £757,796 of the £2 million target raised by yesterday's deadline from 514 backers.

A statement issued yesterday by the Tomlinson Ryan Trust, established by the pair, said the failure to reach their target meant they were unable to meet the Football League's "fit and proper" test for club ownership.

In a series of posts online, Tomlinson wrote: "I'm absolutely gutted the Doncaster Rovers deal is not going ahead. I am desperate for the club to be given the recognition it deserves.

Tomlinson played for Rovers reserves last season Credit: Press Association

I was explicitly told that the deal to buy the club was not dependent on the money raised by Crowdfunding. Unfortunately I was misled.

My passion for Doncaster Rovers remains as strong as ever, and I hope that I can still be involved with the club moving forward.

And to all the Doncaster Rovers fans , I will do all in my power to help the club succeed. I really do love the club.

For the record, I insisted contractually I would never earn a penny from DRFC. I simply wanted to help club and community. Still hoping I can.

– Louis Tomlinson

He and Ryan hosted a press conference last month outlining their plans for the takeover and launching the crowd-funding bid.

Those who have pledged cash will not lose out as they do not have to pay up if a project does not meet its target under Crowdfunder's rules.

A spokesman for the investment site said: "Crowdfunder is an all-or-nothing model. If a project doesn't reach its target, no money is taken from backers."

The Trust's statement yesterday said takeover was in "serious doubt", although it had previously stated that would take place irrespective of the success or failure of its crowd-funding project.

Ryan stepped down as Doncaster chairman in November ending a 15-year association with Rovers. He is understood to have met with Football League representatives this week in a bid to reassure them he and Tomlinson had the finances to run the club.

In interview with BBC Radio Sheffield yesterday he said was sorry the crowd-funding had failed but added: "The real problem is with the Football League. They have made it so difficult now that unless you have a bag full of cash you are going to get turned down."

League requirements not met by Ryan/Tomlinson takeover bid

The Football League has responded to doubt raised over the takeover of Doncaster Rovers by Louis Tomlinson and John Ryan.

The pair's crowdsourcing bid to raise £2million failed yesterday and the TomlinsonRyan Trust said the shortfall brought the takeover into question.

In any club takeover it is a requirement for the prospective purchaser to provide a business plan and to demonstrate that the funding is in place to deliver on that plan. This is part of the League's ongoing efforts to ensure the financial sustainability of our clubs. In this case, this fundamental requirement has not yet been met. We are in close contact with the club and will continue our dialogue.

– Football League spokesman


John Ryan: Doncaster Rovers takeover is off

Tomlinson's crowd sourcing fundraiser failure throws takeover into 'serious doubt'

Doncaster Rovers co-owner Louis Tomlinson's crowd sourcing fundraiser has missed its £2million after raising less than half the money.

Tomlinson's crowd sourcing fundraiser misses target Credit: Press Association

Fans were asked to pledge money to the club in exchange for membership, branded clothes and collectors' items.

The campaign was led with the slogan, "I need your help to get Doncaster Rovers to the Premier League."

Reacting to the failure in a statement, the Tomlinson Ryan Trust said. "The consequence of this is that the deal to takeover the club is now in serious doubt."

  1. National

1D's Louis to charge £250 per selfie in fundraising bid

Tomlinson pictured at Doncaster's Keepmoat stadium. Credit: PA

One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson is to charge Doncaster Rovers fans £250 per selfie in a bid to raise funds for the club.

The 22-year-old, who completed a takeover deal of the League One club with cosmetic surgery magnate John Ryan last week, said the pair are hoping to attract £2 million from supporters as part of their crowdfunding project.

The Tomlinson Ryan Trust has announced a series of ideas designed to boost club coffers.

According to the Trust's page, fans who bid £250 or more can "grab a selfie with Louis" before a home game. The price also includes a match ticket.

So far 32 people have taken up the offer, the website said.


The Tomlinson Ryan Trust objectives:

The Tomlinson Ryan Trust's objectives for the club include:

  • Achieving Premier League status "by careful promotion, support, finance, and investment via its holding company"
  • Building a "high quality" playing squad
  • Expanding the club's supporter base in the UK and internationally
  • Growing the Doncaster Rovers brand
  • Embracing and supporting youth development

In return for pledges of cash, those who give to the crowdfunding campaign will be offered rewards including a place on a new "Club 28" which gives them the chance to have a say in the future of the club.

Other incentives include a range of Club 28 merchandise.

Crowdfunding rules mean money will be returned to donors if the £2 million target is not reached, while rewards are only released if the goal is achieved.

Many of One Direction's teenage fans will not be able to offer their support - donations are only accepted from people who are aged over 18.

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