Southampton Football Club has been ordered to pay out almost £60,000 to Solent Interior Systems Ltd after a payment row was taken to court.
The Technology and Construction Court in London has ordered the club to pay the contractor, along with VAT, interest and legal fees, within 14 days, after it heard that a final instalment of fees had been missed.
Southampton FC sent no representation or counsel to the hearing on Thursday, informing court officials the day before by e-mailing that they would not be attending.
The club had hired Solent to refurbish the Mike Channon Suite, a conference and exhibition area that has capacity for up to 500 people.
Payments of £315,000 were contracted between Solent and the football club, to be paid in several instalments, with Solent starting work in May and receiving the initial payments as contracted.
The court heard that an adjudicator had found on 21 August that Southampton FC owed £55,000 after missing the final payment, due in July, but that Solent had received no explanation as to why payment had not been made.
Amy Amieson, of legal firm P J English, working for Solent, told CN after the hearing that the incident had affected Solent’s cash flow “quite significantly”.
Mr Justice Robert Akenhead said that the club “did not hint or suggest that there is any defence to the claim” and that he “cannot see any conceivable defence” in the evidence heard.
The court ordered the football club, in the absence of counsel, to pay £55,000 in contracted fees, VAT and £1,370.63 of interest, as well as legal costs at £3,309.
Mr Akenhead said “I simply don’t understand” why Southampton had left it to a day before the hearing to say they weren’t attending.
At the time of publishing, Southampton FC had not responded to CN when given the opportunity to comment.