Pompey could have more points deducted

120578-959_BARNSLEY_POMPEY_SR_18/2/12'Action from Pompey vs Barnsley at Oakwell.'Pompey administrator Trevor Birch at Oakwell.''Picture:Steve Reid (120578-959)

120578-959_BARNSLEY_POMPEY_SR_18/2/12'Action from Pompey vs Barnsley at Oakwell.'Pompey administrator Trevor Birch at Oakwell.''Picture:Steve Reid (120578-959)

Mark Copley

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POMPEY’S new administrator admits the club could still be docked further points but says he is confident of finding a buyer.

Trevor Birch, of accountancy firm Pannell Kerr Forster, who has been appointed administrator of the club along with partners Ian Gould and Bryan Jackson, described the way the club has been run in the past as unsustainable.

Portsmouth FC went into administration on Friday for the second time in two years after a hearing at the High Court in London.

Asked what had gone wrong at Portsmouth Mr Birch said: ‘In simplest terms, expenditure has exceeding income in a large way.

‘Predominately due to handing out unsustainable salaries to the players on long-term contracts which has been funded by what we call a fragile ownership of the club over recent years.

‘I’m not sure it’s about executives running it in an inappropriate way; it’s a funding model which is inherently unstable.

‘You have an owner who is funding excess of expenditure over income, and he’s prepared to fund that, you can’t say that’s inexcusable, that is just a model that is unstable.’

Asked if the club was still paying former players he said: ‘No they aren’t, they still have some pretty onerous contracts with the players that still remain.’

He said the highest paid player at the club was on more than £30,000 a week, adding, ‘which for a championship club is just crazy’.

Asked if players and staff were being paid he said: ‘They weren’t paid for the January payroll but hopefully we are going to resolve that.

‘The bank accounts are now unfrozen after the winding up petition that was lodged in January.’

He added: ‘The only club that has actually physically gone out of existence is Maidstone United in 1992, so there is always somebody that will come forward.’

The club have already been docked 10 points but if Portsmouth do not come out of administration via a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) there is a risk of the Football League deducting further points.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Mr Birch said: ‘The precedent is there for those clubs that didn’t come out via a CVA of incurring further point penalties, Leeds being the latest one who didn’t come out via a CVA and I think they were docked a further 15 points before the start of that particular season.

‘That will be a threat if it didn’t come out via a CVA but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t come out via a CVA at this stage.’

Asked about the effectiveness of the Football League’s test for owners he said: ‘The Football League have a fit and proper test which has to be run on a series of objective measures rather than subjective measures because if they turn people down just on the subjective basis then they are going to be open to attack and trying to defend those claims is obviously going to be costly, that will then take funds away from clubs from the central distribution so it’s a bit of a difficult circle.

‘If they haven’t got a criminal record or they haven’t had any insolvencies, these are factual objective issues that people can look at and anything else is just subjective.

‘If you’re a Portsmouth fan you must wonder what have we done wrong to be subjected to this kind of instability.

‘It’s a one-cub city, fantastic fan-base, I think if we can restructure behind the scenes in terms of its debts then yes it’s got a great opportunity to sell the club.’

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