Trust ‘not preferred bidders for Pompey’

Pompey's future remains uncertain
Pompey's future remains uncertain
Carl Baker was left out of yesterday's match squad

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The Pompey Supporters Trust believe that they will not be named preferred bidders to buy the club.

The News understands that Trust members have learned of the verdict by the administrators, which paves the way for a takeover by former owner Balram Chainrai.

But in the increasingly complex behind-the-scenes manouevering at Fratton Park, that has led to an attempt by the Trust to persuade football authorities that Mr Chainrai should not be permitted to take the reins once more.

Trust officials argued in a letter sent to the Football League today that Mr Chainrai’s company Portpin has effectively been involved in the last two administrations at the club, and as such League rules would mean he would not be able to satisfy the ‘fit and proper persons’ criteria for ownership.

Today there was no immediate comment from PKF on the latest situation, although with only two bids apparently on the table despite expressed interest from other parties, deciding that the Trust were not preferred bidders would mean that Portpin assumed that role.

Today Mr Chainrai’s right-hand man Levi Kushnir said that last week Portpin had been told they would not be given notification of preferred bidder status by PKF administrator Trevor Birch.

‘We were not given a preferred bidder status’ he said. ‘On the contrary, last week Trevor told us he will give the trust a preferred bidder status.

‘And then on Friday we were told by PKF that PST cannot take over for many reasons.’

It is understood that the Trust and Portpin are both still awaiting official confirmation from PKF on its preferred bidder decision.

Although senior Trust officials fear that they will not get preferred bidder status, Trust spokesman Colin Farmery emphasised today: ‘There’s nothing official out there to suggest PKF have given Portpin preferred bidder status.

‘We spoke to PKF on Thursday and we have heard nothing from them since.

‘I’m sure PKF are talking to Portpin as well but whether they are favouring them or not is speculation.

‘We are in the situation where PKF haven’t made their decision yet.

‘We recognise that Portpin are there as a rival bid to us and we have made representations to the Football League if they do emerge as PKF’s preferred bidder.

‘If there’s a deal with Portpin to sign they haven’t signed it yet as we haven’t heard about it.

‘We are waiting for PKF to get back to us as we are expecting them to.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘The administrator must look to the best interests of the creditors and that means the long term. This is a clear test for football, and it is obvious which option is the right choice for all concerned.

‘I remain resolute that the Supporters’ Trust bid is the right solution, as do many parliamentary colleagues.

‘If this opportunity is not seized owing to short-term interests against the long-term interests of creditors and stakeholders we, Parliament, would be right to question how the game is governed.’