Pompey takeover talks continue, says Andronikou

IN THE FRAME? Joseph Cala, on the left of the picture
IN THE FRAME? Joseph Cala, on the left of the picture
Nathan Thompson

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NEGOTIATIONS to buy Pompey are still ongoing, according to the joint-administrator of the club’s parent company.

The announcement from Andrew Andronikou, administrator of Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) comes after rumours emerged suggesting businessman Joseph Cala is interested in buying the club.

Mr Cala, an entrepreneur based in Italy and the USA, is rumoured to head a consortium backed by Abu Dhabi investors.

His firm has interests in building undersea casinos and cruise ships and Mr Cala became involved with Italian club Salernitana last year.

But Mr Andronikou, of accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, stressed he will not name the interested party until the deal is completed.

Instead, he said he hopes the interested buyer could be revealed early next week.

He said: ‘We are still in negotiations and in constant dialogue with lawyers and the interested party.

‘I am not ready to disclose the party until a contract has been signed and the Football League has ratified the purchase.

‘We need to have the new buyers in as soon as possible to take the club forward.

‘It is a great opportunity for anyone coming in to put their mark on the squad and strengthen it, but it’s more difficult once the window closes.

‘We are working against the proverbial clock.

‘Once we have conducted our negotiations, it’s very much in the hands of the Football League to conduct its fit and proper persons tests.’

He added that if the deal goes through the new owners will have funds to meet the first instalment of the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) in April.

The £16.5m CVA was agreed to bring Pompey out of administration in 2010.

‘The figure of debt is being negotiated but it’s not a large figure,’ said Mr Andronikou.

‘The CVA deadline will be met if we find a buyer as it’s been factored into the cash flow requirements.

North One Sports (NOS), a subsidiary of CSI, has gone into administration after the FIA terminated its contract to promote the World Rally Championship.

Mr Andronikou said he hoped money from the potential sale of NOS would be pumped into Pompey’s running costs.

Peter Kubik, joint-administrator of CSI, said NOS’ collapse will ‘not have a negative effect on Pompey’.