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SBD Global/February 8, 2013/Franchises
Portsmouth Administrators Confirm Former Football League Chair Keith Harris Bid
Published February 8, 2013
HARRIS EXCITED: In London, David Conn reported if Harris' bid succeeds, he said that he will leave his investment bank, Seymour Pierce, and "become the Portsmouth chairman." The bid's financial backers are Malaysian investment banker Pascal Najadi and Alan Hitchins, who is described as "a professional investor." Harris said that the men "are paying cash to buy Portsmouth." Harris: "I am really excited by this; it is the best opportunity to own a football club I have seen in years, and the fans are amazing. This club deserves to be owned by guys who love football." The PST "will be bitterly disappointed." One of its major concerns, beside the fact that it would "thwart mutual supporter ownership," is that Harris's bid will initially leave Portsmouth as "tenants of the ground." Under the deal proposed to the administrator, Fratton Park will be handed back to Portsmouth's previous owner, Hong Kong-based Balram Chainrai. Harris has agreed to a deal with Chainrai for Portsmouth to rent Fratton Park from Portpin, with an option to buy it outright, which Harris said that he "intends to do quickly after taking ownership of the club, although he will not commit yet to a firm date" (GUARDIAN, 2/7).