Pompey administrator admits club funds are running out

WORRIED Trevor Birch
WORRIED Trevor Birch
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Picture gallery: Pompey 1 Walsall 1

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POMPEY administrator Trevor Birch admits the club is down to the wire in its fight for survival.

Mr Birch says he is very worried Pompey may not get through to the end of the season and revealed Premier League parachute payments he hoped would go into club funds will go straight to former owner Sacha Gaydamak.

He added he is worried the club may not reach the end of the season.

In a statement, Mr Birch said: ‘Following our discussions with the Premier League and Football League over the past few days, it has emerged that Portsmouth Football Club is unlikely to receive any further parachute payments or other league funding.

‘We had previously stated that there was a real danger of the club running out of cash before the end of the season. The risk of this happening increases substantially without the money from the football authorities. Unless something significant happens, there is a real possibility that we may not be able to fulfil the season’s fixtures.

‘One potential issue appears to come from the assignment of £2.2 million of parachute payments that was made by the old company to a previous owner. We have instructed lawyers to challenge this, but the process may take time.

‘The club is also still owed nearly £300,000 by the CSI administrators and their lawyers, who are withholding the funds as payment for their work in applying to court for administration. PKF is talking to its lawyers to see if this money can be returned to the club.

‘Despite the tremendous support that we’ve received from everyone involved with Portsmouth Football Club, it seems that the club isn’t getting any of the breaks that it needs. The more we uncover, the worse the picture appears to get.

‘The only consolation I can give supporters, staff and players at the moment is that my PKF colleagues and I have not given up hope and will continue to do all we can to save the club. But the clock is ticking.

‘We are looking at all possible options for raising further revenues in the very short term but we realise that there is only so much that can be realistically achieved. We will update you on the situation as often as we can, but keep in mind that the situation will change on a daily basis.

‘The local community has certainly risen to the challenge. The attendance at last Saturday’s game against Leeds was one of the highest of the season, a number of fundraising ideas have been proposed and supporters have already raised several thousand pounds to buy tickets for future matches for the local community. That will help. Their commitment has been one of the few positives in an otherwise very challenging fortnight. It also gives me and my colleagues even more motivation to do everything in our power to secure the club’s future.

‘As you’d expect, several people have got in touch with us since our appointment as administrators and made enquiries about buying the club. We are assessing every case and will make contact with anyone that we believe could be a serious bidder over the next few days. Any potential bidders will need to be prepared to make a major investment in the club because the outlook for next season looks challenging unless we can sell some players in the summer.’

Mr Birch added: ‘The parachute payments are through to 2014. Pompey is due about £14m. The problem is that we have football creditors. Old football creditors and ones still accruing. Out of that £14m there might be £7 – 10m of football creditors that will have to he paid.’