Pompey confirm Antonov has quit as club owners go into administration

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

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POMPEY today announced that Vladimir Antonov has quit the club after owners Convers Sports Initiatives were placed in administration.

The club says it continues to trade and has funds in place as it seeks alternative investment.

Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young have confirmed they were appointed as adminstrators on Friday and say they are seeking a buyer for Pompey.

Peter Kubik and Andrew Andonikou, who were administrators of Portsmouth FC in 2009, have been appointed as joint-administrators.

This afternoon, Pompey issued a statement saying: ‘Portsmouth Football Club can today provide the following information regarding recent events as a result of issues relating to Vladimir Antonov and Snoras Bank:

‘The club’s parent company, Convers Sports Initiatives plc (CSI), has been placed into administration.

‘Vladimir Antonov has resigned as chairman and director of Portsmouth Football Club.

‘Portsmouth Football Club (2010) Limited – the company that operates PFC – is not in administration and continues to trade.

‘The club has funding in place for the short term, but will now be seeking alternative investment for its longer-term requirements.’

Pompey chief executive David Lampitt said: ‘After the extraordinary amount of work put in by so many people over the last 18 months to get to this point, it is incredibly disappointing for the club to find itself in this position.

‘I want to assure staff and fans that we will continue to do everything possible to safeguard the position of the club and its longer term future.’

The dramatic development follows Pompey co-owner Vladimir Antonov’s appearance at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday battling extradition over an alleged £200m fraud at AB Bankas Snoras in Lithuania. Mr Antonov is the bank’s main shareholder with 68.1 per cent of shares. He is currently on bail after a security payment of £75,000 was made to the court.

Prosecutors in Lithuania last week issued a European arrest warrant for Mr Antonov and co-Snoras shareholder Raimondas Baranauskas over allegations of fraudulent accounting, document forgery and money laundering. They were arrested by City of London police on Thursday evening.

Antonov’s CSI partner Roman Dubov said outside the court last week that he was fighting to save the business.

Pompey issued a statement following CSI’s purchase in June, which said Mr Antonov and joint-owners Roman Dubov and Chris Akers all passed the Football League’s fit and proper persons test.

The test was introduced in 2004 to protect clubs from people not fit to run them from taking over.

The Football League has said it is ‘monitoring the situation’.

In a statement this afternoon, Peter Kubik, partner at administrators UHY Hacker Young, said: ‘Today my partner at UHY Hacker Young Andrew Andronikou and I were appointed as Joint Administrators to Convers Sports Initiative plc (CSI).

‘CSI own a number of sports teams, media franchises and entertainment rights businesses. None of CSI’s subsidiaries are subject to an administration order.

‘We were appointed as Administrators after uncertainty arose over the future of CSI. CSI has a number of sports related assets and we are very confident of finding interested buyers for these subsidiaries. Our aim is to ensure that the sale process is as smooth as it possibly can be.

‘We will now be undertaking a period of due diligence at CSI and once that has been completed we will be in a better position to answer questions.’

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