Calls for former Barnsley FC co-chairman to be banned from football worldwide after Belgian club's collapse

There have been calls for former Barnsley co-chairman Paul Conway to be banned from football worldwide after Belgian club Oostende were declared bankrupt.

Conway was voted off the board of the League One club after relegation in 2022, at which point his influence at Oakwell more or less ended. He retains a small shareholding which has been progressively diluted by investment from the existing board members.

Under Conway, Barnsley were part of a multi-club ownership whereby New City Capital and Pacific Media Group co-owned the Reds, Oostende, Swiss club Thun, Nancy in France, Danish side Esbjerg, Den Bosch (Netherlands), Kaiserslautern (Germany) and Tychy (Poland).

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Football League charges against Conway and Chien Lee are still be resolved after Barnsley brought concerns about the pair to the governing body.

TROBULES: Oostende's supporters pictured in 2022TROBULES: Oostende's supporters pictured in 2022
TROBULES: Oostende's supporters pictured in 2022

Now, the temporary administrator who is filing for bankruptcy at Oostende on June 3 has questioned if Conway should be allowed to remain in the game after blaming his "mismanagement" for the 120-year-old Belgian club's collapse.

Esbjerg were declared insolvent by a bankruptcy court in April and reconstituted without Conway.

Van Oosterwyck, who was made administrator in January, has disputed Conway's claims that he co-operated with attempts to facilitate a takeover by Apex Capital Group that would have allowed it to retain its licence to continue playing in the Challenger Pro League, Belgium's second tier, where they finished 13th out of 16 in the season just ended.

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He accused the American of "making exuberant and changing demands", which he said this week became an offer to sell his shares for one euro, plus another £514,000 as soon as a takeover was completed, claims that Conway disputes.

Oostende are thought to have debts of around £8.6m, rendering their shares worthless in van Oosterwyck's eyes.

Put in charge of the club by its shareholders, Conway is described as "one of the main culprits", accusing him of "complete mismanagement and financial malpractice", and pointing to the £4.3m signing of Nancy's Mickael Biron in 2022, which he claimed was done so the Championnat club could meet its financial requirements for a licence.

He also said Conway had not met his guarantees to provide funds to Oostende.

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The facts are in dispute but van Oosterwyck revealed he had "filed several claims against him and his companies" pursuing damages.

"The question is whether this man should not be banned from international football," he said. "He plays with clubs as if they are nothing and every emotion is foreign to him."

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