Pompey future in balance as it remains unclear who will run club's affairs when in administration
23:30 GMT, 12 December 2012
The future of Portsmouth was clouded in uncertainty on Wednesday night as a potential dispute developed over who should manage their affairs while they are in administration.
The cash-strapped League One side are currently in the hands of PKF, headed up by Trevor Birch, and a High Court hearing was set for the morning where they were going to try to secure the sale of the club's Fratton Park ground to the Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) from former owners Portpin.
But PST on Wednesday said the hearing had been adjourned, before another party, P&A Partnership, said that Portpin wanted them and not PKF to manage the the club's finances until a buyer could be found.
In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club
P&A's Brendan Guilfoyle, a
well-known football administrator, said Portpin were unhappy with some
elements of how PKF had been dealing with things, but they were happy to
fund the club through to the end of the season provided he was allowed
to run their day-to-day affairs.
He also added that Portpin may be forced to shut the 114-year-old club down if they do not secure a change of administrator.
Guilfoyle said in a statement: 'If I
am appointed, I am confident that we can find a buyer to secure the long
term future of this historic and important club.'
P&A initially released a
statement which read: 'Tomorrow, Thursday 13 December, the High Court
will be asked to make a critical decision affecting the future of
Portsmouth Football Club.
'The administrators of the club believe that if the court does not agree to their application, they may have to close the club.
'However, Portpin have made funds
available to enable the club to continue trading provided that Brendan
Guilfoyle is appointed administrator to find a new buyer for the club.'
Portpin is led by former Portsmouth owner Balram Chainrai.
Guilfoyle has become a well-known
hand when it comes to administrations, having this summer helped the
Bradford Bulls rugby league side with their problems, while he
previously worked in football with Crystal Palace and Plymouth.
'The court papers show the club has become a lot more saleable in the last six months,' Guilfoyle said of Portsmouth.
Dire straits: The cash-strapped League One club are facing uncertainty over their future
Guilfoyle then told Sky Sports he
believed PKF had asked for the adjournment, and that Portpin wanted him
to make sure that if the PST bid – described this week the Football
League as carrying 'significant merit' – failed, that other options
could be sourced.
'Portpin don't feel the club has been
fully marketed and they don't want it liquidated if it can't be sold to
PST,' Guilfoyle said.
'They will fund the continuation of
the club until the end of the season as long as the court involve me and
I can be given an opportunity to find a new buyer.
'My involvement if there is any, will
be a matter for the court, to give the court another option as Portpin
feel the options presented, either a sale to PST or closure, need
'If the court decided the sale to the supporters should go through, I wouldn't have any role.'
Referring to the story emanating from
the Trust about the adjournment, Guilfoyle added: 'There has been a
late development this evening, in that I'm told the solicitors acting
for PKF have requested an adjournment because they have a major problem
with their case.
'The solicitors acting for Portpin are trying to find out what that is but they're not being told.
'I don't think Portpin are
particularly happy because they find the uncertainty undesirable. We
don't know why, but it looks like there'll be an adjournment.'
It now appears that the initial
agenda of Fratton Park will need to be scrapped, with Guilfoyle saying:
'The administrators are seeking the consent of the court for the sale of
the stadium for 2.75million to PST.
The reason they're doing that is
because they've been unable to reach an agreement with Portpin. They
(Portpin) feel the whole deal with PST is prejudicial to their interests
and they're not happy with the administrators.
'Portpin are disturbed and are saying
to the court, “If you don't grant us the right to sell to PST we'll
have no option but to liquidate the club”.
'Portpin are saying, “Let's have
another option”. They feel a lot of good work has been done by the
administrators in reducing wages and making the club a more attractive
Initially, PST had told Press
Association Sport they were 'scratching their heads' about the
adjournment they reported, but were unavailable for further comment. PKF
were also unavailable for comment.