Pompey dismiss winding-up claims

The club have also claimed they are surprised by the actions of Her

Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over the petition which is in respect

of “VAT, PAYE and National Insurance contributions which either

have been, or are about to be paid, or are disputed”. The club also

claim they are disputing the amount of VAT outstanding and expect

the HMRC to withdraw their demands. A statement released by the

club read: “Portsmouth Football club has not been formally served

with a winding up petition and is shocked and surprised this action

has been taken in respect of VAT, PAYE and National Insurance

contributions which either have been, or are about to be paid, or

are disputed. “The club is disputing the VAT amount outstanding and

has formally notified HMRC of this. We expect HMRC to withdraw

their demands forthwith. “Otherwise we anticipate a hearing being

held in early January 2010 during which we will request that the

High Court order HMRC to withdraw their demands. “Since the

takeover by Ali Al Faraj in October 2009, extreme efforts have been

made to reach payment arrangements with HMRC to allow the owner

time to deal with inherited debt. “To date the new owner has

injected a total of £9.7million of new funds to HMRC –

£5.7m paid and security to the value of £4m. “In such a

tough economic environment the club finds it hard to understand

this action by HMRC. “It is well known that the business has been

in a difficult position following former owners’ decisions and the

current owner is committed to resolving this and moving forward.”

Bottom-of-the-table Pompey are currently operating under a transfer

embargo due to their financial problems. A Premier League spokesman

said: “We continue to monitor Portsmouth’s situation closely and

remain in frequent dialogue with the club. Clearly, we hope they

settle any issues they have with the HMRC before the court hearing

in February.” Portsmouth have endured a traumatic year in 2009. A

bid from Sulaiman Al Fahim was accepted in May and he completed his

takeover in August. At the start of October the club admitted

failing to pay players’ wages on time and on October 5 Al Fahim

sold 90% of his Portsmouth shares to Ali Al Faraj. Early this month

the club confirmed that players’ wages had been delayed again. On

the pitch Paul Hart was sacked on November 24 and two days later

Avram Grant succeeded him as manager. Pompey are currently four

points adrift of Hull, Bolton and West Ham.