Pompey need to pay £1.2m to creditors in April

TROUBLED TIMES Pompey's ground Fratton Park
TROUBLED TIMES Pompey's ground Fratton Park

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POMPEY face a race against time to meet a deadline to find an estimated £1.2m by April to pay former owner Sacha Gaydamak.

The first instalment of the cash owed to unsecured creditors seeking more than £2,500 is due on April 1, 2012, under terms approved in the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) signed to bring the club out of administration last year.

Pompey chief executive David Lampitt

Pompey chief executive David Lampitt

An estimated total of £16.5m will need to be paid back in instalments as part of the agreement – but the first £2.2m will go straight to Mr Gaydamak, as he is the club’s only secured creditor.

Under the requirements of the CVA, a further estimated £1.2m will need to be paid on August 15 – and again, most of that will go to Mr Gaydamak.

Only then will other creditors who are owed more than £2,500 begin to be paid. Around £4.1m needs to be paid in equal instalments on April 1 and September 1, 2013.

A further payment is due on April 1, 2014, and the balancing figure to comply fully with the CVA is required to be paid on June 17, 2015.

The club’s parent company Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) went into administration in November, and Pompey are now seeking a new buyer.

The figures were revealed in a letter sent by liquidation firm Baker Tilly to update small and unsecured creditors who are still waiting for payment following the club’s administration. The firm was appointed liquidator of the club in February.

Joint liquidator Geoff Carton-Kelly, who signed the letters, told The News updates were sent out after the firm was contacted by ‘anxious’ creditors.

Club chief executive David Lampitt said: ‘The payment of the CVA obligations have always been built into our business plan.

‘The CVA was drawn up as part of the exit from administration and the process to retain membership to the Football League. It was the obligations Portsmouth Football Club had to fulfil.

‘Anyone coming in to invest or take over the club and move it forward understands the nature of the obligations.

‘There has been a significant level of interest expressed in the football club and we see that as a very positive thing.

‘Obviously it is quite early on in the process and it remains that we will make sure to resolve the ownership situation as soon as possible.’

Only creditors who are owed more than £2,500 are usually paid under the terms of a CVA. But in Pompey’s case, former owner Balram Chainrai pledged to pay creditors owed less than that amount in full through his company Portpin.

The letter from Baker Tilly says that this obligation now rests with Portsmouth Football Club.

But Mr Lampitt disputes it is the club’s sole liability to pay small creditors in full.

‘We were unaware of the fact that the liquidators were sending out correspondences to creditors but we take issue to the liability for 100 per cent payment with creditors owed less than £2,500.’

‘They are still due to receive their full payment of their debt.

‘There is no time scale for full payment but the sooner the dispute is resolved over how the payments are made and who by the better for all concerned.

‘We want to put it to bed.’

STILL WAITING TO BE PAID

SMALL creditors still owed money following Pompey’s administration last year feel they are back to square one after receiving update letters from liquidators.

Roger Higgins, a Pompey fan of 60 years and who worked for the club for 35 years, is owed more than £900 for work he carried out before the club’s administration last year.

He said: ‘After reading the letter, it seems like another game of pass the parcel.

‘It’s wrong we have to keep pushing the football club.

‘In my case, the money is not important – I have written it off anyway. If I do see it, I will give half of it to charity but it’s the practicality of it all.

‘I just feel very sorry for the young fans. All they see is a crisis and they are the future of the club.’

Scott Mclachlan, of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, said: ‘This latest news paints a bleak picture for the small creditors.

‘As time went on it seemed that them getting paid was very unlikely, that now seems even more so.

‘It’s yet another sorry day for the club and possibly one in a long line of coffin nails waiting to be used to shut tight the lid on the club.’

THE BIG MATCH

POMPEY’s eagerly-anticipated clash with rivals Southampton at Fratton Park on Sunday is virtually a sell-out.

Only a handful of seats around the ground remain for the lunch-time encounter.

Saints fans have taken up their full allocation of tickets.

The last time the Blues faced the Saints on home soil was six years ago – on April 24, 2005.

On that occasion, Pompey ran out 4-1 winners in the Premier League thanks to two goals from Lomano Lualua, a Yakubu penalty and an Arjan De Zeeuw header.