MP opposes UHY Hacker Young as administrators

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Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has opposed UHY Hack Young as administrators for Pompey.

In a letter to Des Dolan, Head of debt recovery at HMRC, she wrote:-

‘Portsmouth FC’s application to ‘go into administration’ comes before the High Court tomorrow, and I hope that HM Revenue & Customs appreciates the opportunity represented by administration for PFC to clear its outstanding debts, emerging as a valuable tax-raising organisation, and will support the application. However, it cannot be denied that the need to enter administration fewer than two years after exiting the last period of administration is testimony to the failure of that initial process. Creditors and the Club’s supporters are concerned to see that this new period of administration places the club on a sound and sustainable footing, and there is little confidence that the appointment of UHY Hacker Young, the administrator which failed last time, will achieve this outcome.

‘As UHY Hacker Young is acting as administrator to PFC’s parent company, CSI, a conflict of interest would be created. This conflict would do nothing to allay the fears of small creditors, members of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and the wider Portsmouth community, that the administration process would not be run in an equitable manner. When PFC was last in administration UHY Hacker Young promised to pay creditors which were owed under £2,500. This promise was not fulfilled, and having spoken at length to many of these creditors I know that an alternative to UHY Hacker Young would be preferred.

‘It is vital that the administrator appointed makes use of all the opportunities to provide the maximum return to creditors, including HMRC. This must include engagement with the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and the wider community. PST, ably supported by Supporters Direct, has much to offer: it has built a huge network of support and it has the capacity to rapidly survey its contacts in order to raising funds for a community buy-out. At other clubs supporters’ trust members have volunteered to fulfil roles vacated by staff so that games can proceed and revenue is not lost. I have no confidence that UHY Hacker Young would properly or genuinely work with the Trust. This has been demonstrated by UHY Hacker Young’s refusal to allow the Trust access to the Club’s financial information to enable it to prepare a bid to buy a stake in the Club unless it could demonstrate that it had access to £100m.

‘I have spoken to the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust of their experiences of the proposed administrators and its assessment was damning. I understand that the Trust wrote to HMRC at the time to outline its concerns. The close association of UHY Hacker Young with the Club’s owner, its role as administrator to the Club’s parent company, its failure to secure a lasting exit from administration last year, its broken promises to smaller creditors, and its high-handed and premature demands of the Trust, all cast doubt on the company’s suitability for the role of administrator.

‘The job of an administrator must be to see that all creditors are paid fairly and that the Club concerned can continue, in whatever guise, on firm foundations. There should be no prospect of a return to administration within months.

‘In light of the foregoing I must question whether the re-appointment of UHY Hacker Young is likely to yield a better result than on the last occasion it acted as the administrator. I ask that you consider whether HMRC should object to its appointment and select an administrator more likely to meet with the approval of all concerned.’