Portsmouth Football Club could disappear in a few weeks


Portsmouth Football Club facing extinction on 10 August unless senior players agree to transfers or severe wage cuts. Joint administrator Trevor Birch made it quite clear: "The facts are straightforward, the players have to leave and conclude compromise settlements." The club has just seven senior players left and is due to start its League One campaign on 18 August. Portsmouth FC entered administration in February 2012 and it was the second time in three seasons the club had been in administration due to high debt and unpaid taxes.

Portsmouth won the FA Cup in 2008 but instead of being a stepping stone for the future, that moment brought the decline of the club. In the 2008-2009 they finished 14th in the Premier League, then they got relegated and finished 16th in the Championship in 2010-2011. Last season brought another step down as Pompey finished last in the Championship and got relegated.

The Football League has docked Pompey 10 points and imposed financial restrictions - which include paying all football creditors in full and restrictions on playing budgets, future borrowing and loan repayments for the next five seasons.

Pompey Supporters' Trust and Portpin are interested in buying the club but both offers are on condition the wage bill is reduced through player sales and wage cut agreements. "Both interested parties have made it clear that they won't take on the club unless there is movement from the players. We will continue to do all we can to facilitate these deals but the club's future hinges on the willingness of certain players and their agents to sign up to compromise agreements that are affordable both in terms of the amount and timing of repayments. Unless we make significant progress on this front by 10 August then we are likely to have no option other than to close the club. We are making good progress with three or four players but despite many conversations and offers over the past few weeks, some players and agents still don't understand what's at stake here," Birch added.

Striker Luke Varney has agreed a deal to join Championship side Leeds United on a two-year contract while Tal Ben Haim, Greg Halford, Erik Huseklepp, Dave Kitson, Liam Lawrence, David Norris and Kanu remain on the club's books. The club was founded in 1898.

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