MP raises concern over fees dispute with administrator

CONCERNS Mike Hancock
CONCERNS Mike Hancock
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PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock has raised concerns in the wake of the dispute surrounding fees for Pompey’s administrator.

The News revealed yesterday that former owner Balram Chainrai is locked in a row over the bill for the administrators, led by Trevor Birch.

Mr Chainrai claims Mr Birch’s firm PKF is reluctant to compromise and warned he could be prepared to walk away from the table.

The outstanding figure is believed to be £1.8m.

But Mr Hancock said he raised the question of administrator fees at a meeting between Lib Dem councillors and members of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust last week.

He claims Mr Birch told the meeting the amount had already been taken care of.

Mr Hancock said: ‘I asked Trevor Birch that in the trust’s business plan they make no allowance to pay the administrators’ fees.

‘When I asked him if it would be paid out of parachute payments, he said it wouldn’t and had been taken care of.

‘He told us in front of everyone, including the trust.

‘But I was really shocked to read about the situation with Mr Chainrai because I thought it was done and dusted.

‘Everyone in the room when Mr Birch answered those questions will have the same opinion as me.’

Responding to Mr Hancock’s fears, PKF confirmed the administrators’ fees will be taken out of the club’s current funds before the bank account is handed over to whoever takes over at Fratton Park, subject to approval by the creditors’ committee.

Mr Birch held meetings with Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem councillors before last week’s crucial full council vote on whether to grant the trust a £1.45m bridging loan.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of providing the fans’ group with a loan should they take over the club.

Mick Williams, vice-chairman of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, said: ‘Mr Hancock is right – the administrator fees are not in the trust’s business plan.

‘But the fees are covered in the money the club already has in the account.

‘We are talking to Trevor Birch all the time and we are happy to answer any questions from Mike Hancock, the council or anyone about the bid.’