Birmingham war-of-words goes on

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Birmingham's former and present owners are engaged in some verbal argy-bargy after police ruled out a criminal investigation into alleged "financial irregularities" at St Andrew's.

Former Blues co-owner David Sullivan accused Carson Yeung of "sour grapes" and wasting police time after the new president raised concerns with police about the "questionable" way the club was run before it was sold.

Both sides tried to claim the high ground over the affair, with Mr Sullivan urging Mr Yeung to "move on" and the club responding by telling the former owner to "leave the club and the fans alone".

West Midlands Police confirmed officers from its economic crime team met representatives from the club to discuss concerns raised over alleged financial irregularities in its accounts. But a force spokesman said: "After careful consideration and examination regarding concerns raised by representatives of Birmingham City FC, we have now advised the club that we do not feel there is any criminal matter to be further investigated."

Mr Sullivan said: "There can be no allegation of wrongdoing. Birmingham City was a plc, run by professionals and properly audited.

"If Mr Yeung and co have any issues they should deal directly with us, and not through the press or through the police, who have enough to do investigating serious crimes. I almost feel we should collectively apologise to the police for wasting their time on this matter. The detectives have been dragged into what I can only imagine was a case of sour grapes."

He urged Mr Yeung to "move on" and continued: "Football clubs are very complex businesses and there was always going to be detailed accounts to consolidate.

"New owners cannot just come in and retrospectively decide that the price of purchase was too high. If there are any matters they want to discuss, as long as they are reasonable, my door is always open. That is the way I will operate with them... in a civil way over what is a civil matter."

Birmingham issued a stinging response, saying in a statement: "Mr Sullivan does not understand the purpose of reporting to the police.

"It has nothing to do with the price paid for the club but rather the way it was managed. Due diligence is proceeding and this is really the first episode. A detailed investigative report will be prepared and released to the fans as the new management wants transparency and open and responsible administration of the club."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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