Andronikou says Pompey face fight with the taxman over £1.6m unpaid bill

The administrator of Portsmouth Football Club Andrew Andronikou
The administrator of Portsmouth Football Club Andrew Andronikou
Connor Ronan. Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY are still on the brink after administrator Andrew Andronikou revealed the club owes £1.6m to the tax man.

Mr Andronikou, the joint-administrator of the club’s parent company Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), said the club was unable to pay a bill of £800,000 to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in December – and said another £800,000 payment was due yesterday.

No deal for Joseph Cala

No deal for Joseph Cala

The revelation comes as Sicilian American businessman Joseph Cala sensationally pulled out of a bid to take over the club.

Fears have been raised that the HMRC could come for Pompey again little over two years after it was issued a winding-up petition.

Mr Andronikou told The News the HMRC are looking at the situation ‘very carefully’.

He said: ‘The HMRC have preserved their position and we will see what happens on Monday or Tuesday.

‘We are concerned about the short term and are working very hard to secure a deal.

‘Administration is not on the cards and it is the last thing we would consider.

‘I can say that the club has not got significant debts, it has significant cash flow issues.’

Pompey won a High Court challenge with HMRC in 2010 over unpaid taxes following the club’s administration.

A Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to pay creditors owed cash was reached to bring the club out of administration.

The first instalment, £1.2m, is due on April 1.

Mr Andronikou said there are parties still interested in the club after Mr Cala’s withdrawal.

The 50-year-old underwater hotel visionary made the dramatic decision to turn his back on negotiations yesterday after claiming to have failed to reach an agreement with Portpin – the firm belonging to the club’s former owner Balram Chainrai.

The American Sicilian businessman previously said he was ‘95 per cent sure’ of completing the deal earlier in the week.

He claimed he was due to hold a conference call with the Football League yesterday, but this was played down by Mr Andronikou.

Mr Cala said he was not willing to put a guarantee of between £3m to £5m into his lawyer’s bank account until he had been confirmed as owner.

He added he pulled out of the deal because ‘Portpin refused to make themselves landlords.’

The News first made Mr Andronikou aware of Mr Cala’s decision to pull out of a deal yesterday.

‘We have got other people and we won’t have to waste any more time with individuals that want to generate column inches,’ said Mr Andronikou.

‘We had a very uncomfortable experience with Mr Cala.

‘I am aware he has been in and around other football clubs in England and I say that if he was to appear at any other club’s door steps they should give me a call.

‘It doesn’t really help when strange individuals go out in public and play havoc with us.

‘Joseph Cala knew exactly what he had to do but as expected he couldn’t deliver.

‘He has had his five minutes of fame.’

Players and staff at the club are expected to be paid this month, according to Mr Andronikou, but he stressed the club has ‘significant cash flow issues’.

He said: ‘We have contingency plans in place and we will get to the end of the month with positive news.

‘We are working round the clock to deliver a deal.’

He confirmed talks were held with a ‘credible’ private equity fund yesterday afternoon.

An HMRC spokesman said it is unable to discuss individual cases due to taxpayer confidentially.

They said: ‘Any business that regards paying tax as an optional extra after other expenses are met, or that uses tax collected from employees or customers as working capital, is potentially heading for trouble.’