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Portsmouth FC could be wound up by next week

The club’s biggest creditor demands an upfront cash payment to approve a deal that would end its administration.

Andrew Andronikou believes there is still hope for Portsmouth, but if its takeover bid fails it will likely have to liquidate its assets.
Andrew Andronikou believes there is still hope for Portsmouth, but if its takeover bid fails it will likely have to liquidate its assets.
Image: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive

THE ADMINISTRATOR of Portsmouth FC has said he remains hopeful of reaching a deal that will allow the club to exit administration – but the club may still have to be liquidated as early as next week.

Administrator Andrew Andronikou told BBC radio that he expected “common sense to prevail” in the matter, after the club’s former co-owner Alexandre Gaydamak demanded an up-front cash payment in order to give his approval to a debt management deal.

The deal being proposed by Andronikou would have seen each unsecured creditor repaid with 20p for each pound of debt the club owed them – but Gaydamak, who owned the club between 2006 and 2009 and remains its biggest creditor, demanded that the £2.5m he was due would be paid up front.

With the club’s finances so precariously balanced, Andronikou says such a deal simply cannot be agreed to – and if he cannot be persuaded to change his mind, the club may simply have to liquidate its entire book of assets (that is, sell absolutely everything it owns, including grounds and staff, to raise the cash it requires), tantamount to ending the club’s 112-year existence.

In a statement last night, Andronikou said:

It’s not possible [to pay the £2.5m upfront]. We’ve been running the club on a shoestring. We’ve got to deal with the needs of all creditors and we’ve got to secure the club going forward. [Gaydamak] will have to stand in line like everybody else. He [is due] about £2.5m. He’ll get that when everybody else gets paid.

Gaydamak’s approval is required in order to close the debt management deal which would allow Cantonese businessman Balram Chainrai to complete his acquisition of the club, which has already been approved by both the Football League and Premier League.

“We are ready to sign up the paper, and unfortunately Mr Gaydamak decided that he has got religious constraints, [so has] again decided for 24 hours to turn his phone off,” Andronikou said. “I think through pure frustration the press release was released.”

Portsmouth were relegated from the Premier League last year, largely due to the nine-point penalty the club accrued as a result of falling into administration in February.

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Gavan Reilly

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