Pompey delay player wages again

The club had hoped the outstanding player salaries would be

processed today, but the monies will now be cleared after the Bank

Holiday. A statement from Portsmouth read: “Portsmouth Football

Club expect to pay their first team squad’s December salaries on

Tuesday, January 5. “The club has been speaking to the Professional

Footballers’ Association and the players have been informed. “The

club has been assured of receipt of funds by Tuesday and the owner

and board have been working hard on resolving the short-term

delay.” This is the second time this season Portsmouth have been

unable to pay players’ wages on time. The south-coast club head

into 2010 rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, following the

4-1 home defeat by title-chasers Arsenal on Wednesday night, and

beset by financial worries. Earlier yesterday, Pompey had issued a

statement to deny the club had been formally served with a

winding-up petition by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in

relation to disputed VAT, PAYE and National Insurance contributions

of a reported £3.5million. A High Court date has been set for

early next year, but Portsmouth – who continue to operate under a

transfer embargo imposed by the Premier League over unpaid transfer

debts – are expecting to have the matter resolved before then and

the threat of possible administration lifted. The Fratton Park

faithful are becoming increasingly frustrated at the dire financial

plight of their club, which in May 2008 were celebrating a famous

FA Cup win at Wembley under former boss Harry Redknapp. Chants of

“Where’s all our money gone?”, “Sack the board” and “You’re not fit

to run a club” rang out around the ground during Wednesday night’s

match, as fans sent a clear message to Saudi Arabian owner Ali Al

Faraj. However, chief executive Peter Storrie – himself charged

with tax evasion by HMRC, accused of concealing a signing-on fee

for Amdy Faye by paying it via the midfielder’s agent William McKay

– used last night’s programme notes to try to allay fears Pompey

were set for imminent liquidation. “Off the field, the financial

issues of the club have been prominent in the media once again,” he

said. “While we would prefer to keep this in-house and deal with

the situation, third parties are ensuring that certain issues are

played out in public. “The majority of the reports are

ill-informed, but such is the confidential nature of finance that

we are not at liberty to put the record straight all of the time.”

Storrie continued: “It has been a very difficult year, but one

thing you must believe is that Ali Al Faraj and his associates are

doing their very best to refinance the club so we can once again

operate the business as we all want to. “At Ali’s request I have

also been in discussions regarding further investment with various

parties, and these are ongoing. “The priority, of course, is to get

the transfer ban lifted – especially with four of our players away

at the African Nations Cup. “The current squad have already shown

they have what it takes to compete with any side in this league,

and if we can add even more quality, we will have every chance of

surviving.”