Challenge to Andronikou as Pompey administrator

Andrew Andronikou
Andrew Andronikou
Adam May. Picture: Colin Farmery

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A challenge was being mounted in the High Court today against Andrew Andronikou’s firm being appointed administrators of Pompey.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has been working with some of the club’s creditors to oppose any appointment of UHY Hacker Young and has written to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs in a bid to secure its support.

She urged HMRC’s head of debt recovery, Des Dolan, to support the administration application, being heard in London today, but to ask that UHY Hacker Young is not appointed to oversee the process.

Portsmouth City Council has also sent a letter to the court urging it to appoint different administrators.

UHY was in charge the last time Pompey was in administration, and are dealing with the current administration of Pompey’s parent club, CSI.

Ms Mordaunt said she believed that was a ‘conflict of interest’.

In her letter she said: ‘This conflict would do nothing to allay the fears of small creditors, members of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and the wider Portsmouth community, that the administration process would not be run in an equitable manner.’

Meanwhile, Portsmouth South MP and councillor Mike Hancock said: ‘Portsmouth City Council has put in an objection against UHY Hacker Young being appointed as administrators for Pompey.

‘We have formally written to the High Court.

‘As creditors, the council does not think the appointment of UHY will do the club any favours.

‘We want there to be a different administrator.

‘They might do a better job this time, but we much rather someone else had the opportunity.’

AS Pompey were due to head to court today for an administration hearing, the club’s fans were expressing outrage that their club is in this position once again.

They are angry that Vladimir Antonov was able to pass the Football League’s fit and proper persons test (F&PPT) to become chairman and co-owner.

He was arrested in November for alleged bank fraud.

Snoras bank, which he owns, was put into administration by the Lithuanian government and his assets were frozen.

This left his company Convers Sports Initiatives – Pompey’s owner – with no cash, and in turn threatened the existence of the club.

Fans are angry because in 2006 the Financial Services Authority had denied Snoras permission to trade in England because it said it could not trust the bank to give accurate and complete information.

Fans have written to the Football League to demand answers about how Mr Antonov passed the Football League’s F&PPT, and to urge the body to listen to fans’ opinions.

One fan, Mike Smith, wrote: ‘I would like to express my extreme disappointment with your organisation’s ability to carry out the correct tests on Portsmouth Football Club.’

He also asked to know why the FL is not at fault for passing Mr Antonov, and what the FL is doing to help Pompey now.

The Football League is alleging that Mr Antonov misled the organisation on the F&PPT form, which, while a legal document, is taken on faith.

A petition has been raised by fans to urge the Football League to safeguard Pompey’s future and ensure no one party benefits from it being put into administration or – in a worse case scenario – being wound up.

It also demands ‘actions that the Football League can take in co-ordination with the Premier League and Football Association to ensure that “fit and proper” action occurs during the next period of administration should it be approved’.

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

Meanwhile, Lib Dem peer Ben Stoneham, Baron Stoneham of Droxford, raised the issue during a debate in the House of Lords about introducing a F&PPT for press standards.

He 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.’

The Spinnaker Tower will be lit up blue tonight as a mark of solidarity.

An eleventh-hour meeting between CSI administrator Andrew Andronikou and self-proclaimed millionaire Keith Gregory, who wanted to buy the club, did not take place yesterday.

Both parties accused the other of not returning phone calls.

Mr Gregory has previously said he is not interested in the club if it goes into administration

Follow the administration hearing live at portsmouth.co.uk today. We have two reporters at the High Court for the hearing.