Pompey’s plight highlighted in House of Lords

110845-4983 LORD STONEHAM (ROK) MRW 16/3/2011 ''Lord Stoneham of Droxford at The Houses of Parliament - ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (110845-4983)
110845-4983 LORD STONEHAM (ROK) MRW 16/3/2011 ''Lord Stoneham of Droxford at The Houses of Parliament - ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (110845-4983)
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

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A PEER has used a debate about press standards to highlight the plight of Portsmouth Football Club.

Liberal Democrat Ben Stoneham, who is Baron Stoneham of Droxford, made the statement in the House of Lords following calls for a Fit & Proper Persons Test for journalists, similar to the test used to see whether prospective football club owners are suitable.

Pompey are due to find out whether judges in London will allow the club to go into administration - a knock-on effect from former club chairman Vladimir Antonov’s arrest on suspicion of bank fraud.

Lord Stoneham said: ‘...the Government have as much chance of getting this right as the Football League has of approving a fit and proper person to own Portsmouth Football Club.’

His comments came as shadow sports minister Clive Efford spoke in the House of Commons, saying warnings about the London-based Russian businessman’s bank raised by the Financial Services Authority were not heeded and he was given the go-ahead by the Football League.

But the Football League says the former Pompey chairman had been misleading on the F&PPT form.

Fans have become so angry at how Mr Antonov was allowed to pass the test that they have begun writing letters to the Football League demanding answers, and around 600 have already signed an online petition for the League to intervene in Pompey’s plight and safeguarding the club’s future.

It can be found at ipetitions.com/petition/request-to-the-football-league-re-portsmouth/

In the meantime, Portsmouth Football Club are due to appear at the Rolls Building in Holbourn tomorrow to formally apply to go into administration to avoid a winding-up petition.

If granted, it will be the second time in two years that the club has been in crisis.

As a show of solidarity, the Spinnaker Tower will be lit up blue tonight.

Scott Mclachlan, of the Pompey Supporters Trust, said: ‘We thought it was a great idea and will provide a much needed boost for the morale of the city and the club.

‘So from dusk on Friday evening the tower, which can be seen across the city, will be a shining beacon of hope for Portsmouth Football Club.’