Survival battle goes on for Pompey

PORTSMOUTH have accepted Sulaiman Al Fahim’s resignation from the board as the club continues to battle for survival under the threat of a winding-up order.

However, Portsmouth were left mystified as to why Al Fahim posted his ‘private and confidential’ resignation as non-executive chairman on a public website before informing the club of his intentions.

Al Fahim’s resignation letter was posted on www.arabianbusiness.com with the former board member claiming he had not been made aware of the club’s financial situation despite repeated requests.

Al Fahim announced earlier yesterday he was to stand down and give his 10% shareholding to the Portsmouth’s Supporters’ Trust.

Portsmouth’s Director of Communications, Gary Double, later confirmed: “We have received his resignation which has been accepted by the board.”

The Dubai businessman was one of four people to have owned the ailing Premier League club this season, having taken over from Sacha Gaydamak last summer before selling Pompey to Ali Al Faraj.

Despite relinquishing ownership to Al Faraj, he retained a 10% stake in the club and was also given the position of non-executive chairman at Fratton Park.

Meanwhile, Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie is fuming over insinuations the club’s cash has been misappropriated in some way.

TV coverage over the weekend raised questions about the money generated by a club that won the FA Cup two years ago. It has since been revealed the players have taken the biggest chunk of the money, the banks have recalled £40m of loans and the rest has gone in transfer fees.

All the figures have been declared to the courts and to the potential South African buyers, with a deal anticipated in the next 48 hours.

“If you want to know where the money has gone, look at the accounts,” declared Storrie.

“It’s no secret, we’ve had the report submitted to the courts. It’s there for all to see. The bulk of the money has gone to the players in wages. The cost of the players’ wages this year is £37m. Last season, when it was running at its height, it was £52m, and the year before it was £42m. The vast majority of the money over the last two to three years has gone on players’ wages, and also on their transfer fees”.

Storrie, however, remains hopeful new owners, a South African consortium, could be in place before they return to the High Court on March 1.

“It’s going to be a hectic few days,” added Storrie.

“I am heavily in discussions and not been off the phone all day today again. The next couple of days could prove crucial, its going to be a very busy next 48 hours.”


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