Portsmouth Takeover Struggles Continue As Football League Threatens Expulsion
The future of League One side Portsmouth FC "took two more twists as supporters became locked in a power struggle with a football deal-maker," according to Rick Broadbent of the LONDON TIMES. With the club approaching a year in administration, "a new bid was slapped on the table" by former Football League Chair Keith Harris. By close of play, the Football League had flexed its muscle and refused to ratify it on the basis that it would create "further uncertainty." That paves the way for the Pompey Supporters Trust "to take control, with all hingeing on the High Court hearing on Thursday to determine the value of Fratton Park." The PST, the administrator’s preferred bidder, "has been at odds" with former Owner Balram Chainrai over the sale of Fratton Park, his fixed security. However, Harris "had agreed a deal with Chainrai," who is seeking a return on £17M ($26.7M) in loans. That "sounded attractive to PKF, not least because Harris said that they would be paying in cash and the deal could be done without a court appearance." But the Football League then "waded in with a lifeline for the PST and a warning to boot." It said: "The League has informed the administrator that it will not consider transferring the club’s share in the Football League to a new bidder. This means that in the event that the PST bid does not succeed and Portsmouth do not exit administration before the end of the season, the club will lose its membership of the Football League." If the judge agrees that it has undervalued Portsmouth, "it will throw the future of the club into doubt" (LONDON TIMES, 2/8).