ADMINISTRATORS to Portsmouth FC face a race against time to move on the club’s two remaining senior players as the 10 August liquidation deadline draws nearer.
The club entered administration for the second time in two years on 17 February, with PKF partners Trevor Birch, Ian Gould and Bryan Jackson appointed.
With three days until the deadline, Israel international Tal Ben-Haim and Liam Lawrence both remain on the club’s books, reports the BBC.
Ben-Haim, who has been one of the club’s highest-paid players in recent years, says he has offered to waive £1.5m from his wage. However, Ben-Haim is still calling on the administrators to pay him £300,000 more than what is being offered.
“The blood is very much on their [administrators] hands,” he told the BBC.
“As far as I’m concerned, an offer has been made to me only recently. I have offered to waive a further £1.5m of my current contract. They now tell me this is not good enough.
“The fact is that we are only about £300,000 apart in negotiations. If they want to liquidate the club for that money while they still charge their huge fees, then all I can say is that the blood is very much on their hands.”
Birch said Ben-Haim is not alone in having to make sacrifices, and hoped a deal could soon be struck that would allow the club to survive.
“I understand why nobody wants to lose money – whether they are players or the club’s other creditors. Tal Ben Haim is not alone here,” said Birch.
“There’s the pain felt by the club’s employees who lost their jobs or took pay cuts earlier in the year.
“If we all keep that in mind over the next couple of days, there is hope that the club may survive.”
Former owner Balram Chainrai’s company Portpin and the Pompey Supporters Trust are vying to gain control of the club through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which would see unsecured creditors, such as the taxman and local businesses receive about 2p for every pound owed.
Both the Football League and the Premier League hand out ten-point deducations to any club that enters into an insolvency process. The rules also state a club must exit an administration through a CVA – under which a percentage of the debts will be repaid over an agreed period of time.
The Football League has handed the club a ten-point penalty ahead of the start of the upcoming season, which would see it begin the League One season on -10 points, should it avoid liquidation.
The fast-track move is a bold departure from the norm, as a probe would normally only begin several months after administrators had finished their own enquiries
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