Tag Archives: viability

Portsmouth face 10 point deduction even if supporters trust save club

Pompey will still be docked 10 points if supporters group win fight to save club

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UPDATED:

17:13 GMT, 10 December 2012

Portsmouth still face a 10-point deduction should the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) win their battle to save the club this week.

The Football League today confirmed the sanction, to be imposed once the club comes out of administration, after receiving details of the PST's proposed takeover.

PST's bid hinges on administrators PKF gaining permission to sell Fratton Park, which is controlled by the club's former owner Balram Chainrai, at a High Court hearing which starts on Thursday.

In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club

In danger: Portsmouth will be docked 10 points even if the supporters trust saves the club

The League is awaiting the outcome of that hearing, and for the trust to raise the remaining funds as set out in their business plan, before fully considering their application.

A statement from the League read: 'The Football League Board has received details of a proposal by Pompey Supporters' Trust and its partner investors to acquire the assets and certain liabilities of Portsmouth Football Club.

'Having considered the proposal in detail, the Board concluded that it had significant merit.

'However, two outstanding points will have to be resolved before the Board can fully consider PST's application to become the new owner of Portsmouth Football Club.

'They are the outcome of the current High Court proceedings relating to the ownership of Fratton Park and PST raising the remaining funding from supporters that is anticipated in its business plan.

'The Board also confirmed that ongoing membership of the League would be subject to a number of conditions that seek to ensure the sporting integrity of league football and the financial viability of the club going forward.

'It therefore reaffirmed its earlier decision that these conditions would include a deduction of 10 points (applicable at the point of transfer of share) and a range of other restrictions on playing budgets and future borrowing for the next four seasons.'

Pompey, who have been in administration since February, are currently one place and one point outside the npower League One relegation zone.

Portsmouth hit with 10-point deduction

More misery for Pompey as League One club are slapped with another 10-point deduction

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UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 12 July 2012

Portsmouth have been told they must start next season in npower League One with a 10-point deduction.

The Football League said it will accept Pompey's membership provided whoever buys the club complies with a number of conditions, notably another points deduction.

Portsmouth were also docked 10 points last season after entering administration for the second time in two years and were eventually relegated from the Championship.

Crisis: Portsmouth have been hit with another 10-point penalty

Crisis: Portsmouth have been hit with another 10-point penalty

Last month they moved a step closer to coming out of administration after creditors voted in favour of former owner Balram Chainrai's Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal, while the Pompey Supporters' Trust are also bidding to take over the cash-strapped club.

As well as starting next term on minus 10, the Football League say Portsmouth must agree that only a limited proportion of the secured debt from the previous club can be carried forward into the new company as secured debt.

They must pay all their football creditors in full, unless mutually acceptable compromise agreements are put in place.

Cash-hit: Portsmouth are still in administration

Cash-hit: Portsmouth are still in administration

Finally, Pompey will also face a range of other restrictions on playing budgets, future borrowing and loan repayments for the next five seasons.

A Football League statement read: 'The Board of The Football League has agreed to make an offer of membership to the eventual purchaser of Portsmouth Football Club.

'The offer is subject to the successful bidder accepting a number of conditions that seek to ensure the sporting integrity of league football and the financial viability of the club going forward.

'The Football League Board has absolute discretion as to whether to admit any new company as a member of The League. In doing so, it has to strike a balance between giving a club another chance and the effect this has on sporting competition between clubs.'

Rangers in crisis: Paul Murray planning last-gasp bid

Blue Monday! 'Day of destiny' in the battle to save crisis club Rangers

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 22 April 2012

Paul Murray is battling to put together an eleventh-hour deal to save Rangers — after serious doubts emerged over the viability of the only concrete bid on the table.

The leader of the Blue Knights consortium has spent the past three days talking to Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy and finance firm Ticketus in an attempt to thrash out an offer to rival that of American Bill Miller.

Sources close to the deal said they were ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the ‘finer details’ could be thrashed out in order to lodge a concrete bid with administrators Duff & Phelps by the close of play on Monday.

Hope: Paul Murray is working to re-enter the bidding race for Rangers

Hope: Paul Murray is working to re-enter the bidding race for Rangers

It’s understood there is broad agreement over the main strands of the proposal and that a mechanism is now in place to pay the 500,000 deposit required to obtain preferred-bidder status.

Tennessee tow-truck tycoon Miller tabled a conditional 11.2million bid on Friday containing the proviso that he would get ’written guarantees’ from the game’s authorities that a newco version of the stricken club would ‘play in the SPL in season 2012-13 without any loss of points and with all historic titles intact’.

Miller claimed that he had been involved in ‘dialogue’ with both the SFA and the SPL — a statement later contradicted by sources at Hampden.

Reports over the weekend claimed that Miller had ‘cut a deal’ with the SPL to take a new version of the club back in to the top flight with ‘limited football sanctions’.

However, although SPL sources confirmed that they had spoken to ‘a number of parties’, they flatly denied any such agreement had been reached.

That, therefore, raises fundamental questions over the likelihood of Miller remaining at the table, although it is anticipated he will be givem preferred-creditor status if the Blue Knights don’t come forward by virtue of being the last man standing.

Question marks: Bill Miller

Question marks: Bill Miller

Miller’s plans raised eyebrows given that, next Monday, the 12 SPL clubs will vote on suggested new sanctions for newco clubs who wish to keep their place in the top flight in a different guise.

Penalties of 10 points for two seasons and a loss in commercial revenue of 75 per cent for three years are on the agenda.

Eight and 11 votes are required to carry the motions respectively.
The SPL have also yet to finalise their investigation into the alleged ‘double-contract’ saga surrounding the stricken Ibrox club, making any pre-emptive ‘deal’ with any prospective owner impossible.

It has been suggested that a number of players were partly paid through Employee Benefit Trusts starting as early as the mid-1990s.

If it is proven that these were excluded from players’ contracts lodged with the SPL and the SFA, the Ibrox club could face a range of sporting sanctions.

The SFA’s investigation is currently on hold as they would be the appeal body to whom Rangers would dispute any decision by the SPL.

Until the outcome of the SPL investigation is known and, if appropriate, any sanction is imposed, potential new owners like Miller cannot be given any guarantee as to what, if any, penalties they could inherit.

Miller’s proposal, which was revealed last Friday, would see Rangers effectively split into two companies for an indeterminate period of time.
He would attempt to move the assets like the players and stadium from the old company to the new one — while simultaneously working towards agreeing a Company Voluntary Arrangement.

Once a CVA had been agreed, his intention would be to ‘marry’ the two companies once again.

Paul Murray’s plan has always been to
try to exit administration via a CVA. He was on the brink of being
awarded preferred-creditor status last week until it emerged that
Ticketus would not come up with the 500,000 non-refundable deposit
administrators Duff & Phelps were demanding.

It
then emerged that Ticketus had been holding talks with the Singaporean
consortium led by Bill Ng — a development that saw the Blue Knights
temporarily step back from the negotiating table.

Out of the running: Bill Ng withdrew his offer for Rangers last week

Out of the running: Bill Ng withdrew his offer for Rangers last week

Ng then withdrew, however, forcing Ticketus — who paid disgraced Rangers owner Craig Whyte 24.4m for tranches of future season tickets — to re-open negotiations with the Murray consortium.

Murray believes that having Ticketus as part of the consortium helps the Blue Knights’ chances of a CVA being agreed as it takes Ticketus out of the creditors’ pot.

In order for a CVA to be agreed, 75 per cent of creditors, voting on a pound-per-vote basis, must approve it.

However, if the so-called ‘big tax case’ finds against Rangers before any creditors’ vote is taken, HMRC would hold the veto over any CVA agreement.

The Blue Knights believe that having Ticketus on board will also bolster their chances of securing Whyte’s 85-per-cent shareholding that he acquired from Sir David Murray a year ago.

Whyte has previously claimed that he is ‘personally on the line for 27.5m’ as a result of the Ticketus deal.

However, he could satisfy the London-based finance company’s demands without the need for a messy and prolonged court action if he was to offer his shareholding as part of a settlement.

ICC Twenty20 meeting not something to sleep through – The Top Spin

Stay awake! ICC's Twenty20 blueprint will shape the future of Test cricket

Top Spin

'Cricket's chief executives meet in Dubai' is not a headline to stimulate the juices. This partly explains why the politics of sport, with a few honourable exceptions, are reported so sketchily.

Sport is of the heart; men in suits and air-conditioned rooms are, at a pinch, of the mind. Sporting drama is the reason journalists enter the trade; boardroom manoeuvrings can leave us cold.

And yet the two-day meeting of the ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) must not be allowed to vanish like some mirage in the Emirati desert.

Brave new world: The Bangladesh Premier League is just the latest T20 competition around the globe

Brave new world: The Bangladesh Premier League is just the latest T20 competition around the globe

The press release that landed on Sunday spoke so bountifully of 'strategies' that you ended up wondering whether Haroon Lorgat and friends were protesting just a bit too much.

Under the heading 'T20 strategy', we were informed that the 'CEC will hold a strategic conversation on whether the current strategies relating to T20 cricket are appropriate to best manage the balance and long term viability of all three formats of the game'.

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For more cricketing musings, please follow us on Twitter: @the_topspin

Please stay awake. This is important, perhaps even more so than the item at the top of the press release, which is the CEC's response to the Woolf Review. (A wild stab in the dark: cricket's rich and powerful will decide, on balance, that they'd rather not be any less rich and powerful.)

The clue to what Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, hopes to achieve lies in the final line of the 'T20 strategy' section, when he refers to the format's 'implications for cricket as a whole'. To which a possible retort could be: better late than never.

Balancing act; ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has to juggle Tests, ODIs and T20 in cricket's calendar

Balancing act; ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has to juggle Tests, ODIs and T20 in cricket's calendar

At this point, it's traditional for
English cricket writers to be mocked for being backward-looking. Many is
the occasion that concerns expressed about Twenty20's dominance of the
sport's landscape have been met with a 'get back to your three men and a
dog if you don't like the IPL' – as if there is black and there is
white and there is nothing in the middle.

But you can be damn sure the men who run the game would not be discussing this issue unless they were concerned about the proliferation of a form of cricket that was supposed to be a light accompaniment, not the whole three-course meal plus coffee, mints and a taxi home.

More from Lawrence Booth…

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20/02/12

The Top Spin: Captain Cook can breathe easy… but what about the rest
14/02/12

The Top Spin: Series whitewash leaves England with a number of important lessons to learn
06/02/12

The Top Spin: England need to find some middle ground to stop their drop from the top
31/01/12

The Top Spin: Hold fire on the Schadenfreude… Flower's England record deserves better
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The Top Spin: Apologies England, but Test cricket needs Pakistan to win this one
16/01/12

The Top Spin: From Ashes jubilation to Indian humiliation: English cricket's dramatic 2011
01/11/11

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Like so much of cricket's contemporary
discourse, the argument about Twenty20 has become polarised and
parodied: you're either with it (with 'it' often taken to mean the IPL
and the Champions League) or you're against it (which means you must be
an MCC-tie-wearing Test-match zealot).

Naturally, it's rather more complex than this. For the story of Twenty20's rise from the saviour of English domestic cricket in 2003 to the liner of rich men's pockets in 2012 is the story of cricket's identity crisis. It is the story of a sport that has lost faith in itself and is now uncertain how best to deal with that loss.

Don't, as they say, get me wrong. Twenty20 can be thrilling. It has opened the eyes of people who would never have given Test cricket the time of day. It has improved standards of fielding. In many cases, it pays the rent. But Twenty20 has become the one-night stand which, almost imperceptibly, takes over the apartment.

Of all the cricket lovers I know – and the span covers all ages and nationalities – not one has ever suggested his or her favourite form of the game is Twenty20. Most, like me, enjoy it for what it is.

In a roundabout way, this was what Lorgat was getting at in the ICC press release: 'Cricket is uniquely fortunate to boast three exciting formats at international level and we have recognised the inevitable need to strategically manage these formats for each to be successful in the long run.'

This, then, is cricket's chance to move away from the self-interest that blights the game at boardroom level. Test cricket may not be the easiest sell in the second decade of the third millennium. But without it, most of the players who earn their fortunes in Twenty20 would have no reputation to trade on.

Lorgat is spot on about making sure the three formats work together. But will the chief execs take his point Cricket will be watching this space.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

A shaky start for the BPL

It's not been an auspicious first year for the Bangladesh Premier League. One player reported an approach by an illegal bookmaker before the tournament had even begun, while another was called into a hearing after a man was arrested on suspicion of match-fixing.

Then we had a farce involving the identity of the semi-finalists, with the rules apparently being made up as the competition went along.

Still, at least the players are making lots of money. What's that Ah.

'The commitment was to pay us 75 per cent of the contracted amount before the end of the tournament,' said Duronto Rajshahi and Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim. 'But we haven't received anything of that sort. We got some of the money but not the said amount.'

OK, well surely the locals will have learned useful lessons from the BPL's legion of foreign mercenaries, sorry, stars

'Definitely there are good things to pick up from the foreign players,
but also there are things that have been negative that is going on,'
explained Mushfiqur. 'Whoever can get out of this with cricket in their
mind, will do good in the future.' Curiouser and curiouser…

Famous face: Pakistan star Shahid Afridi (left) reacts after taking a wicket for Dhaka Gladiators in the BPL

Famous face: Pakistan star Shahid Afridi (left) reacts after taking a wicket for Dhaka Gladiators in the BPL

Srikkanth lashes out

If, in the weirdest of parallel universes, the Top Spin were an Indian selector, we would probably from time to time lose our temper too. But Kris Srikkanth may have chosen the wrong target when he told a TV reported to 'shut up' during an impromptu press conference following the announcement that Virender Sehwag had been rested from the Asia Cup squad.

Thanks to Cricinfo, you can see the exchange here.

But it was just as notable for the kind of statements that have been giving the Indian hierarchy a questionable name ever since last year's World Cup triumph.

In England, said Srikkanth, India 'got battered a bit because of injury problems', as if it was that simple. In Australia, 'probably the batting did not click properly' (check the bowling figures, Kris: they were pretty grim too).

As for his outrage at journalists questioning the validity of a fitness bulletin, perhaps Srikkanth should have sat through last summer's tour of misinformation in England. Then he might have grasped the scepticism.

Something to smile about

Mind you, Virat Kohli can bat a bit. If you haven't seen highlights on Youtube yet of his unbeaten 133 off 86 balls in the CB Series against Sri Lanka at Hobart, you've missed a treat.

Give us a smile: India batsman Virat Kohli (left) has finally flashed his pearly whites

Give us a smile: India batsman Virat Kohli (left) has finally flashed his pearly whites

There were plenty of highlights, not least his one-man destruction of Lasith Malinga (7.4-0-96-1). But our favourite bit came when Kohli reached three figures. And smiled.

Kohli has been in danger of combining skill and scowl, talent and temper. At times, he has resembled the angriest man in world cricket, a white-van man accidentally transported to the cricket field. But here was sheer pleasure. And he looked all the better for it.

Jesse Ryder – a marked man

As sure as day/night follows day, Jesse Ryder has landed himself in a whole lot of bother again.

Which is to say he had a drink while recovering from an injury (split webbing in his hand) and failed to walk away while he and New Zealand seamer Doug Bracewell were being abused in a bar by the kind of fan who thinks public figures are not actually human beings with feelings but punch-bags for their own inadequacies.

Ryder, who last week upset Craig
McMillan for his part in a needless Twenty20 defeat against South
Africa, was promptly dropped ahead of the third one-day international,
and has since been the subject of inevitable public hand-wringing by the
great and the good of New Zealand cricket.

There's
no question he's been a naughty boy in the past. But on this occasion,
you did wonder whether the bloke deserves a break.

Swashbuckling: Jesse Ryder's (left) attacking batting has won him many fans but he has often been in trouble

Swashbuckling: Jesse Ryder's (left) attacking batting has won him many fans but he has often been in trouble

Test cricket – please give generously

We suspect you like Test cricket, which is why we suspect you'll be keen to support the making of a film called Death of a Gentleman – a documentary about the state of the five-day game involving interviews with, among others, Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh and Haroon Lorgat, plus dawn raids on the homes of Dickie Bird and Brian Close.

The brains and brawn behind the project are Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber, perhaps known to a couple of you as the Two Chucks.

They tell me they’re running out of money. They also tell me their film’s going to be really good/save Test cricket.

If you want to know more or even help out, check out their website for some teasers or visit their funding page. You have nothing to lose but your dignity.

Rangers must save 1m a month to see out the SPL season

Cash-strapped Rangers need to save 1m a month to see out the SPL season

Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps have postponed any final decisions on redundancies until early next week.

They had expected to complete a review of staffing levels and cost structure this week following a number of discussions with manager Ally McCoist.

Troubled times: The PFA's Fraser Wishart leaves Murray Park in Glasgow after talks with the players

Troubled times: The PFA's Fraser Wishart leaves Murray Park in Glasgow after talks with the players

However, any announcements have been
delayed for now as the administrators continue with their attempts to
find savings of approximately 1million per month to ensure the ongoing
viability of the club.

More to follow

Writing on the wall: Rangers must slash their costs

Writing on the wall: Rangers must slash their costs

Rangers in administration: David Murray hits back

Former Rangers owner Murray: Words can't express how hugely disappointed I am

The Empire strikes back. Well, the
man so often referred to as 'the previous regime' certainly felt
compelled to retaliate with some degree of force.

Clearly prompted by Craig Whyte's
attempt to pin Rangers' financial collapse on tax debts run up as far
back as 2001, former owner Sir David Murray returned fire in a
statement that only just stopped short of blaming the new chairman for
Britain's shoogly credit rating.

On the attack: Sir David Murray

On the attack: Sir David Murray

Having insisted he would only sell the club to someone capable of taking Rangers forward, Sir David's own personal reputation among fans won't be restored by a few strong words; nothing short of a rescue package could achieve that.

Disappointing diehard disciples who dream of his glorious second coming, though, one-time saviour Murray revealed he holds no automatic right of return. At the moment, the way he tells it, he can't even get Whyte to return his calls.

Despite lines of communication having remained open in the immediate aftermath of last summer's takeover, Murray says recent attempts to seek reassurance on the club's viability have met with a stony silence.

He also claims the 'big tax case' estimated at 75million by the new owners, remains winnable, that Whyte knew all about this massive liability when he took over – and that the Lanarkshire businessman was the only serious player in town when the club was put up for sale.

Not quite sealed with a loving kiss, Sir David's official statement read: 'Words cannot express how hugely disappointed I am with news of today's appointment of administrators to The Rangers Football Club plc.

A religion: Rangers have won the Scottish title 54 times

A religion: Rangers have won the Scottish title 54 times

'The timing of the appointment of administrators is especially surprising given two facts. Firstly, there has been no decision, and there is no present indication as to the timing of a decision, from the first-tier tax tribunal concerning the potential claim from HMRC of 36.5m excluding interest and penalties.

'Secondly, legal opinion on the strength of the club's case remains favourable.

'Following a protracted sale process over a three-year period, Murray International Holdings Limited (MIH) ultimately sold its 85-per-cent controlling shareholding in the club to Wavetower Limited (Wavetower now renamed The Rangers FC Group Ltd), a company wholly owned by Craig Whyte, in good faith on May 6, 2011.

'In addition, the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) imposed a number of obligations on Wavetower. These included the retention of 9.5m on behalf of the club for investment in the playing squad, expenditure on the infrastructure of the stadium and settlement of an agreed tax liability, together with the availability of working capital to fund the club's operations. The Shareholder's Circular issued by Wavetower on June 3, 2011 confirmed these undertakings.

'Contrary to recent press speculation, there is no legal mechanism in the SPA for MIH to re-acquire the club.' That's the killer line for those hoping against hope that Whyte's headlong rush towards insolvency might give Sir David an easy way back.

Never say die: Rangers fans raise a banner with a message directed at HMRC

Never say die: Rangers fans raise a banner with a message directed at HMRC

There was more damning testimony to follow, the statement continuing: 'MIH wrote to Wavetower on August 25, 2011 seeking confirmation that its various obligations were being complied with. A confirmatory assurance was eventually obtained on January 3, 2012.

'Following recent speculation concerning the financing and security arrangements put in place by Wavetower, a request was issued seeking further clarity.

'At the time of this announcement, no response has been forthcoming.

'At the time of relinquishing control over the club, MIH endeavoured to ensure the future of the club through the various commitments and undertakings of Wavetower.

'MIH received no consideration for the sale of its controlling shareholding, but instead agreed terms attached to the sale of its stake in the club to ensure an immediate and substantial improvement in the club's financial position, as well as a significant investment in the club and its playing squad.

'In May 2011, the sale to Wavetower presented the best available path for the club's future and was reasonable given all the circumstances existing at the time. Contrary to numerous reports, there were also no viable alternative offers made in advance of the sale.

'MIH is saddened by the appointment of administrators. It recognises the tax-tribunal proceedings have stemmed from arrangements put in place during the time of its ownership.

'However, these arrangements and details of the proceedings were fully disclosed by the club to Wavetower and Craig Whyte in the due diligence process.'

Portsmouth hit with winding-up order

Pompey hit with winding-up order as crisis deepens at Fratton Park

Portsmouth have been issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs.

HMRC sources have confirmed that the petition, over an unpaid tax bill of 1.6million, has been sent to the troubled Championship club.

'Ensuring tax is paid on time should be at the centre of a football club's business strategy just like any other business,' said an HMRC spokesman.

Crisis club: Portsmouth have been hit with a winding-up petition

Crisis club: Portsmouth have been hit with a winding-up petition

'Anyone that regards paying tax as an
optional extra, or that uses tax collected from employees or customers
as working capital, is potentially heading for trouble.

'While a winding-up order is a last
resort, there is little HMRC can do for a business – be it a football
club or not – whose viability is dependent either on not paying the UK
taxes to which they are liable, or on special treatment not available to
other customers with similar tax affairs.'

The extent of Pompey's latest financial problems were revealed after Italian businessman Joseph Cala pulled out of a deal to buy the club on Friday.

Andrew Andronikou, the joint-administrator of the club's parent company Convers Sports Initiatives, said the club was unable to pay a bill of 800,000 in December and that another 800,000 payment was due on January 20.

The club have been looking for new owners since Convers Sports Initiatives entered administration in November.

Michael Appleton, the Portsmouth manager, has admitted he expects to have to sell players from what is already the smallest squad in the Championship.

In February 2010 Pompey became the first Premier League club to enter administration with debts of around 60million and were deducted nine points, which saw them relegated from the top flight.