Portsmouth to enter adminstration on Friday

Portsmouth to enter adminstration on Friday

Published Feb. 25, 2010 4:28 p.m. ET

Portsmouth will become the first Premier League club to go into financial administration on Friday, after four undisclosed buyers failed to prove they had the funds to buy the cash-strapped soccer club.

Andrew Andronikou of UHY Hacker Young will serve as the administrator after a Thursday afternoon deadline passed. Financial administration is a form of bankruptcy protection.

"We made a conscious decision to put it into administration tomorrow morning," Andronikou told The Associated Press.

Andronikou will issue a detailed statement Friday outlining how the club will be restructured to prevent it going into liquidation. The club is in last place in the world's richest soccer league, and will be docked nine points for entering financial administration.

"I feel very sad, very angry," Portsmouth manager Avram Grant said.

The 112-year-old club has already had four owners this season, with debts reportedly reaching $105.5 million. Portsmouth reached the predicament by spending heavily on player transfers and salaries to win the 2008 FA Cup, its first major title since 1950.

The debts at Fratton Park continued to mount, and the club was in serious trouble in August when Sacha Gaydamak sold it to Dubai businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim.

However, Al-Fahim's ownership lasted less than six weeks after failing to refinance the club and pay the players' wages on time. A subsequent takeover by Saudi businessman Ali Al-Faraj was portrayed as being necessary to rescue the club, but it still struggled to pay off debts.

Portsmouth was banned from buying players on permanent deals during the January transfer window, and any funds raised from player sales were taken by the Premier League to pass on to clubs owed money.

Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai took over the club this month as a short-term arrangement to protect his investment after becoming frustrated that several deadlines were missed to repay his loans to the club.

The Premier League has been working with Portsmouth for six months to prevent a potentially embarrassing closure.


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