Administration and a points deduction looms for Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH will officially go into administration this morning with the automatic nine-point penalty virtually ensuring relegation from the Premier League.

Pompey owner Balram Chainrai took the decision last night after talks with four interested groups failed to lead to a takeover of the club, which has £70 million (€79m) debts.

The process of going into administration will be completed in the High Court this morning.

Pompey will become the first Premier League club to go into administration and the nine point penalty will leave them on just seven points, 16 behind their nearest rivals.

Chainrai’s spokesman Phil Hall confirmed last night: “We have started the process of putting the club into administration and this is due to be completed at the High Court in London first thing tomorrow.

“The administrator has begun work immediately on the paperwork and this should be completed by tomorrow.”

Administrator Andrew Andronikou, of insolvency experts UHY Hacker Young, will now begin the process of cutting costs at the club to try to keep it as a viable entity.

A major sell-off of players and the prospect of a long period of rebuilding in the Championship now looms.

Hall said talks had not broken down with the four interested groups but the club had not been attractive enough to them in its current financial state.

He added: “Once the club is in a more viable state it may become more attractive to them in terms of a takeover.”

Chainrai, who is looking to recover a £17m (€19m) loan he made to the previous owners, has moved to prevent the club from being wound up in the High Court on Monday over £7.5m (€8.4m) owed to HM Revenue and Customs.

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant said he was “very sad” and “very angry” at the situation.

Grant said he had been “more or less” told the club would go down that route, and stressed his experience at Pompey had been one of constant frustration.

The Israeli was installed as the club’s manager in November, having joined as director of football the previous month.

He said: “I feel very sad, very angry, but I want to understand more (about) the situation before I tell you my opinion.

“Now I’m very sad for me of course and for everybody.”

Some finance experts believe the administrator may have to terminate player contracts now to save cash.

Simon Wilson, partner of restructuring experts, Zolfo Cooper, said: “It seems certain that Portsmouth will be relegated and will need a complete restructure.

“Depending on the level of committed funding available the administrator may need to terminate players contracts to reduce outgoings because the possibility of selling players outside of the transfer window has already been denied by the Premier League.”

Andronikou is expected to make a statement today though he is unlikely to hold a news conference.

Meanwhile, FIFA is set to discuss Portsmouth’s plight at its next executive committee meeting on March 18.

FIFA general secretary, Jerome Valcke, said: “It is definitely something that will be discussed.’’

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