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SBD Global/March 1, 2013/International Football

Premier League CEO Scudamore Says League Backs Fans' Portsmouth Takeover

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore has "backed a fans’ takeover of Portsmouth and the Football League’s refusal to deal with any other bidders for the League 1 club," according to Richard Palmer of EXPRESS. Scudamore, who "had to deal with the mess three years ago" when Pompey under the ownership of Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai became the first EPL club to go into administration, has said that he "supports the Football League’s stance over the latest insolvency -- provided it is lawful." A community bid led by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and including Portsmouth City Council, which is lending the fans £1.45M ($2.2M) to buy the club’s Fratton Park ground, has "been made the official preferred bidder in a case that blazes a trail for supporter ownership of football clubs." But financier Keith Harris, who is fronting a rival consortium "is threatening to sue the Football League over its refusal to deal with him." Harris claims that "he would lease the ground for a year and then buy it" in a total deal worth £6.3M ($9.6M) from Chainrai, who now claims to be owed £20M ($30.3M) by the club. Scudamore said, "We are supportive of the position being taken by the Football League in relation to the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust as long as it meets the legal and regulatory requirements of the process." On Wednesday Portsmouth City Council rubber-stamped a £1.45M loan, "repayable from Premier League parachute payments within five months" (EXPRESS, 2/28).
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