Chainrai sets trust ‘impossible’ £1m Fratton rent offer

OFFER Balram Chainari
OFFER Balram Chainari
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BALRAM Chainrai’s firm offered the Pompey Supporters’ Trust the chance to rent Fratton Park for £1m a year, a figure which the fans’ group say was impossible to meet.

Representatives from Portpin, including Levi Kushnir and Deepak Chainrai – the brother of former owner Balram – met members from the trust, Pompey administrator Trevor Birch and advisors from accountancy firm Begbies Traynor in an attempt to save the club from liquidation.

It comes as Mr Birch gave both Portpin and the trust two weeks to finalise their takeover bids.

Colin Farmery, spokesman for the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, confirmed ‘tentative’ conversations were held between the parties and a seven-figure sum was put forward by Portpin for the trust to rent the ground.

The News understands the figure is around £1m per year.

Balram Chainrai and Portpin hold a charge over Fratton Park but the trust, which seeks to buy the ground for £2.75m, says it would have been impossible for it to meet that figure.

Mr Farmery told The News: ‘We did have tentative conversations some time ago about what a deal might be and a seven-figure sum was mentioned about what was being looked for annually.

‘Ultimately, it was impossible to create that in a sustainable model.

‘They suggested a figure and it made doing a deal extremely difficult.’

But Mr Chainrai moved to defend the proposal, adding the trust was offered a ‘workable lease structure’ based on attendance calculation.

He said it was a chance for the trust to show the Football League that it had the resources to fund a takeover.

He told The News: ‘We can confirm that a meeting was held between Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust at the PKF offices with a view to see if the parties could work together to save the club.

‘In this meeting, we discussed the strategic option of allowing the trust to rent the stadium from Portpin on a long-term basis.

‘This was suggested in order to help the trust use its financial resources to concentrate on operating the business as its main priority.

‘We made it clear to the trust that it was critical to be able to prove that they had liquid financial resources to satisfy the Football League they were able to fund the takeover, pay the creditors, and operate the club on a self-sustaining basis.

‘To this end, we offered a workable lease structure that was anchored by attendance-based calculation.

‘This approach has been used successfully in many professional sports businesses worldwide.

‘Much to our surprise, we have not received any response to this proposal from the trust.’