DCSIMG

Harris offers fans the chance to buy into his bid

Fratton Park

Fratton Park

 

THE group behind an alternate bid to own Pompey is now offering fans a chance to own 15 per cent of the club.

Keith Harris’s group says the only stumbling block in its bid to buy the football club is getting the Football League’s approval.

The FL said the bid had been made too late to be considered, and said the bid being made by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, with 100 per cent fan ownership, is the only one it would consider.

In their statement, Mr Harris’s group is also offering money off match prices for existing season ticket holders, and a fans representative to sit on the club’s board.

Mr Harris’s two co-investors are Pascal Najadi and Alan Hitchins. The group says it is not linked to Balram Chainrai’s Portpin, or any other group.

Mr Harris said: ‘Our bid is not dependent on court applications, loans from local authorities, property developers or any other third parties, and most importantly is not dependent upon the hard-earned money of supporters whose passion and loyalty alone should provide them with the opportunity of ownership of the club.

‘Our passion for Portsmouth reflects the passion of every single supporter of the club – stability, security for the future, and success on the pitch.’

PST spokesman Colin Farmery said he did not understand why the Harris group was persisting in its bid.

He added: ‘The Football League has made it patently clear it will only deal with the PST.

‘I can’t understand why this statement has been made at this particular time, when our bid to buy the club is virtually complete.

‘I don’t know why we’d want 15 per cent of the club when we’re about to get 100 per cent of it, effectively.’

The full statement from the Harris group, released this morning, reads:

The group led by Keith Harris sincerely appreciates the positive responses it has been receiving in relation to its offer to acquire Portsmouth. Throughout the process it has listened carefully to the views of Portsmouth fans, the local community and to the comments of The Football League.

The club’s supporters are essential to the future success of Portsmouth, and one of the key aspects to this offer, which has been put to the administrators, is that supporters will have a 15 per cent stake in the ownership of the club.

It is vital to Keith Harris and his co-investors that the modern and pioneering approach to football club ownership involves a partnership with the Club’s supporters that is engaging, open and transparent – with all involved pushing in the same direction to rebuild the Club and to achieve future success.

Supporters who have donated funds to the PST proposal,current season ticket holders and hospitality clients will be offered this opportunity to be involved in the ownership of the club. In a manner very similar to the arrangements at Swansea City FC, 15 per cent of the shares in the club will be allocated free to a group made up of representative supporters.

There will also be the following additional benefits:

• The current season ticket holders will receive a 10% discount on the published price of season tickets for the next three seasons starting with season 2013/14;

• At least one representative of the fans will be elected to the board of the Club once the takeover has been completed (also effectively now being practised at Swansea City).

We would also like to confirm the following points about this bid:

• The offer is not subject to any due diligence, as it has all been fully completed.

• Funds to complete the purchase are ready to be transferred to a UK solicitors’ bank account and therefore ready for immediate release, subject only to the consent of The Football League.

• Negotiations to purchase the Club from the administrators and a payment plan to satisfy the PFA have now been completed and the agreements are ready for signature.

• Our bid has the full support of the creditors’ committee including HMRC and the PFA as it gives a much greater return to creditors than the PST proposal. It also complies fully with the terms of the CVA.

• The option to acquire the stadium from the current owners is in an agreed form and will be completed immediately following the takeover. We recognise that this is pivotal to placing the Club on a secure future footing in the wider community.

• The only outstanding issue remains the consent of The Football League, and all paperwork in that regard including the business plan, and stadium lease and purchase, are available for immediate consideration by the Board of The Football League.

Mr Harris said: ‘We are pleased to be able to offer season ticket holders, hospitality clients and the supporters who have donated funds to the PST proposal, an opportunity to be involved in the ownership and to be represented on the board of Portsmouth.

‘The shares will be issued for free to a representative supporters group in a manner similar to those held by the Swansea City Supporters Society Limited, and all monies contributed to the running of the Administration in relation to the PST proposal will be returned in full as agreed with the administrators.

‘From the outset of our bid being announced on 7 February, we have sought to involve all supporters in our plans, and this includes any supporters involved with the PST proposal.

‘We therefore felt we should take this opportunity to explain that our offer involves giving the fans a real stake in the future of the club, and we would be delighted to explain the full detail of our plans with any of the club’s supporter groups – whether based in the UK or overseas.

‘We believe this provides the best combined opportunity for the fans, for HMRC, for other creditors, and will, most importantly, put the club on a secure financial footing after a number of turbulent years – and enable us all, together, to build for the future.

‘Our bid is ready to complete immediately so that the Club can exit Administration and so remove the uncertainty surrounding the club. It will also allow Portsmouth to exit administration with an approved CVA as required under the Football League regulations.

‘I would like to add that there have been a number of ill-informed comments made about our bid.

‘For the avoidance of any doubt, our bid is made only by me and my two co-investors, Pascal Najadi (a Swiss citizen who also holds a British passport), and Alan Hitchins (a British citizen).

‘Our bid is entirely independent of any other party whatsoever and we will be warranting that this is the case to the Football League.

‘Our bid is not dependent on court applications, loans from local authorities, property developers or any other third parties, and most importantly is not dependent upon the hard earned money of supporters whose passion and loyalty alone should provide them with the opportunity of ownership of the club.

‘Our passion for Portsmouth reflects the passion of every single supporter of the club – stability, security for the future, and success on the pitch.’

 

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