Delayed start in Pompey court hearing

L-r Pompey fans Phil Whyte and Tony Simms outside the High Court today
L-r Pompey fans Phil Whyte and Tony Simms outside the High Court today
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett

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THE court hearing which will decide the future of Portsmouth Football Club is now expected to begin this afternoon.

Mr Justice Peter Smith agreed to delay the start until 2pm amid indications that the parties involved in the High Court action were discussing a last-minute deal.

Although the court starts proceedings at 10.30am a delay was called this morning to allow the judge extra reading time of the papers deposited before the court.

There were also discussions about whether or not the court allocated for the hearing was large enough to accommodate all the journalists and fans who had arrived for the hearing.

Court 31 has seats for 11 journalists and members of the public, and sat first it was expected that there would be a late switch to another court.

But then court staff began investigating whether or not extra chairs could be accommodated in the original room to allow the hearing to go ahead there.

Just after 11am it was decided to move the case to the adjoining Court 30.

But 50 minutes later came the announcement that the case would not start until 2pm, and indications of talks aimed at resolving the issue out of court.

The case is between club administrators BDO and its former owners Portpin.

BDO - formerly PKF - is asking permission to sell Fratton Park to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, against Portpin’s wishes.

Portpin has a financial charge on the ground, which means it should have final say on to whom the site is sold.

BDO is also asking for the judge to rule on how much the ground is worth.

The PST has offered £2.3m for the stadium, but Portpin, backed by Balram and Deepak Chainrai and Levi Kushnir, says it is owed much more.

The judge’s decision could result in the PST knowing whether it is able to afford to buy the both club and the ground out of administration.

The hearing will start from 10.30am in court 31 of the Rolls Building, off Fetter Lane in The Strand, and is estimated to last at least two days.

Administrators BDO will be represented by Katharine Holland QC from Landmark Chambers with Pinsent Masons their legal representatives. Portpin will be represented by Walker Morris with their QC expected to be Richard Sheldon.

The News will be providing rolling coverage on throughout the case.