The eight men with Pompey’s future in their hands

Football League chairman Greg Clarke
Football League chairman Greg Clarke
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In pure footballing terms, they will serve as both judge and jury.

A line-up of eight men convening to rule where Pompey will be playing football the following season – and at what points cost.

All eyes will be on the High Court hearing between PKF and Portpin to set the valuation of Fratton Park on April 10 or 11.

If the figure is satisfactory to the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust, the club can come out of administration with new owners at the helm.

Then it will be down to the Football League board, headed by chairman Greg Clarke, to pass their own judgement.

At the top of the Pompey agenda will be granting membership, that so-called ‘golden share’ which will permit the Blues to remain in League football.

If the club are out of administration, that represents a formality. League chiefs satisfied with the Trust and its business plan.

What isn’t so straightforward is the issue of a points deduction – a threat which has lay on record since July 12, 2012.

Way back then it was anticipated to be enforced during the 2012-13 campaign – yet nobody expected the Blues to still be in administration now.

The fear is this could be carried over until next season, particularly if Pompey have already been relegated.

The decision will rest entirely with the Football League board – and after that April court hearing.

The League have refused to comment when that will be, although usually a scheduled meeting is held once a month.

Hopefully it will be long before the Football League AGM on June 6.

Those men with the power consist of Clarke, six club directors and independent non-executive director Richard Bowker.

The League’s executive will deliver their recommendations – then it is down to the octet to determine when the points deduction will be issued.

Bowker is a transport business specialist who made the shortlist to become the Football Association boss in 2005.

The six club directors are divisional representatives elected by member clubs, with three from the Championship, two from League One and one from League Two.

They include Jeff Mostyn, an ex-Bournemouth chairman and current vice chairman of Pompey’s south coast rivals. A well-respected figure in the game, he was last year elected to the FA Council as a representative of the Football League.

Then there is Crystal Palace chief executive Phil Alexander, a former player with Norwich who later turned to American Football, representing the London Monarchs.

Tony Kleanthous is the Barnet chief and the youngest chairman to enter the League when he bought the club in 1994.

John Nixon is Carlisle’s managing director and former managing director of Pirelli Tyres.

Keith Lamb is a former Middlesbrough chief executive who stepped down from the role in 2011 but has remained in the position of non-executive director to Steve Gibson.

Finally, Shaun Harvey is the long-serving chief executive of Leeds and a former managing director of Bradford City.

Not forgetting Clarke, of course, chairman of the Football League since March 2010 and a Leicester City season-ticket holder.

As ever, the Pompey situation is groundbreaking, with no definitive legislation to consult.

According to rule 12.3.3 of the Football League handbook, should a club be ‘subject to or suffers an Insolvency Event, or the Board impose a deduction’ before 5pm on the fourth Thursday in March it will come off that season.

That would be March 28 – missing that would signal a points deduction the following year.

However, that ‘insolvency event’ applies to entering administration and the League have confirmed to The News that does not apply here.

Pompey’s punishment actually centres on an unsatisfactory CVA first time around.

Therefore, it is entirely at the board’s discretion over the application of that points deduction.

They are also under pressure to serve the 71 other Football League clubs, of which few have any sympathy for Pompey and their continued plight.

There is little goodwill among their rivals and punishment is demanded.

Whether the Blues being deducted points, having already been relegated, qualifies as being disciplined is debatable.

Certainly many would disagree and demand them carried over into what is appearing to be League Two football next year.

Of course, that Football League board meeting may instead centre on throwing Pompey out.

That hinges on whether the club have come out of administration before the season’s end, an ambiguous date the League will not clarify at present.

It’s a scenario the Blue Square Bet Conference have already looked at and I understand they would willingly take on Pompey.

Before then games in the High Court must be played out in a hearing scheduled for two days.

In addition, the judge will be able to take the weekend to come to his conclusion.

The ‘longstop’ date of April 19 is set in stone and the case must be decided by then.

Should there be a dispute over the judgment, it is down to the judge during his delivery of the verdict to stress whether an appeal can be made.

Regardless of the outcome, the Football League will be next in line to dictate Pompey’s future.

And it will be in the hands of those eight men on one board.