Cala reveals the impasse which led to the collapse of his Pompey bid

NO DEAL Joseph Cala
NO DEAL Joseph Cala

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AMERICAN Sicilian businessman Joseph Cala’s astonishing U-turn comes 24 hours after saying he was ‘95 per cent sure’ he would take over Pompey.

Mr Cala, 50, was the only interested party to confirm his interest in taking the reins at Fratton Park.

He told The News he was unable to reach an agreement with Portpin – the firm belonging to former Pompey owner Balram Chainrai.

Mr Cala claims Portpin requested him to put between £3m to £5m into his lawyer’s bank account as a guarantee – but he refused.

He added Portpin were not willing to take up Mr Cala’s suggestion of becoming ‘landlords’ of the club.

He said: ‘They asked me to put several million pounds into my lawyer’s account. My lawyer said there’s no need.

‘I didn’t like that because I did not have a final agreement where Portpin was the landlord.

‘If the deal would not go through I would have lost between £200,000 to £400,000 through the exchange rate.

‘I have officially pulled out, like I promised.’

Mr Cala claimed to be the frontrunner for the Pompey post last week and said he was won over by the fans’ passion after watching the draw with Southampton in December.

But supporters’ were sceptical over his interest and his business past.

Mr Cala, who claims to have a personal wealth of around 100m Euros, founded the Underwater Resort – a company specialising in designing underwater hotels and casinos – in 1996.

Documents detailing the performance of his Cala Corporation shows the firm recorded a net loss of $2,439,726 with total assets accumulating to $6,377 from January 1, 2007, to September 30, 2010.

He repeatedly stressed the firm was a ‘dormant’ company.

Following his decision to walk away from negotiations, Mr Cala said: ‘I am very sad. I will have to take a sabbatical.

‘Pompey for me was the name itself. It’s something I have always loved.

‘When I thought of Pompey, I thought of Pompeii, one of my favourite cities in the world.

‘I want to thank the fans very much.

‘99 per cent of them genuinely wrote to me and all said the same thing. They said please be honest with us – don’t play with us.’