This is the full statement issued today by the new owners of Portsmouth Football Club:-
Convers Sports Initiatives plc, controlled by London-based Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, has today completed the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Portsmouth Football Club following approval by The Football League.
London-based businessmen Vladimir Antonov and Roman Dubov, Chairman and President respectively of Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), together with their partner Chris Akers, the former CEO of Leeds United and Sports Internet Group, have bought the Fratton Park club for an undisclosed sum from Hong Kong businessman Balu Chainrai, his brother Deepak and Levi Kushnir.
Mr Antonov, 35, Mr Dubov, 36, and Mr Akers, 46, manage the commercial development of a growing portfolio of sports teams, franchises and rights through CSI, including: the Russian Ferrari race team, the Spyker Squadron motorsports team and North One Sport, the global promoters of the World Rally Championship (WRC), the Isle of Man TT race series, the Velux 5 Oceans Race and Clipper Round the World sailing events.
In November 2010, CSI acquired a controlling interest in PowerPlay Golf the exciting new golf format which is now played in over 25 countries. In February 2011 CSI acquired North One Sport and in the same month purchased a majority stake in DBG Convers, a specialist in developing social new media solutions for sports and entertainment brands and personalities including world heavyweight boxer David Haye. In March 2011 CSI secured a 65% share of Executive Sport Limited, the parent company of the high profile “Leaders in Football” conference. In May 2011 CSI purchased a majority stake in Sports International Ltd, the holding company of popular online platform SPORTPOST.com.
Commenting on the Portsmouth FC acquisition Mr Antonov said: “We have conducted extensive due diligence and held detailed negotiations with a number of clubs in the English Premier League, Championship, League One and Scottish Premier League over the past twelve months. We ultimately selected Portsmouth Football Club because of its history, loyal fan base and its potential to return to the Premier League.
“The supporters are amongst the most passionate in the game and that gives the business a strong foundation to build on.
“We look forward to working with all those connected with Portsmouth Football Club including the management, players, employees and sponsors as well as developing close ties with the City of Portsmouth and the community.
“We would also like to thank Mr Chainrai and his executive management team for their stewardship of Portsmouth Football Club through one of the most difficult times in its history, pre and post-Administration last year.”