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SBD Global/February 25, 2013/Franchises

Former Portsmouth Owner Wants Clarity On Bidding Process From Football League

League One side Portsmouth's former Owner Portpin "has asked the Football League to clarify its position on considering new bids for the club," according to the BBC. The League said that "it would not consider offers other than that of the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) after this week rejecting a bid fronted by football financier Keith Harris." But Portpin, led by Balram Chainrai, claims that "the League's stance is unlawful." In a statement it suggests that the Harris bid "is better for creditors." Portpin claims that the Harris bid would mean it received £6.3M ($9.6M) for the stadium, as opposed to the £3M ($4.6M) currently being offered by the PST. It claims ruling out consideration of other offers "unlawfully limits the ability of the administrator to fulfil its role in securing the best terms for creditors" (BBC, 2/22). A Portpin spokesperson said: "We have made clear that we are agnostic as to the source of the solution for Portsmouth Football Club and welcome whichever bid offers both the best deal for the creditors of the club and provides the highest degree of certainty for the supporters in bringing Portsmouth out of administration. We are today calling on Greg Clarke, Chairman of the Football League, to commit publicly to the Football League reviewing any bid that is put to it for approval by the administrators" (PA, 2/22). In London, Richard Palmer reported the Football League's stance has infuriated Portpin, which said in a statement Friday that "it believed the League was unlawfully limiting the ability of Pompey's administrators, insolvency specialists PKF, to secure the best terms for creditors." The statement said: "It is also likely that if the League does not make clear that it will consider any bid put forward by the administrator in accordance with its own charter, it will leave itself exposed to legal action for damages from creditors which could amount to millions of pounds." But a source close to the negotiations said: "The League has taken copious legal advice on this and won't budge." It is understood that Portsmouth City Council, which has offered the Trust a £1.45M ($2.2M) loan to buy Fratton Park, "has also been threatened with legal action but has stood firm, confident in the legal advice it has received" (EXPRESS, 2/22).
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