Portsmouth administrators granted court date

by Rachael Singh

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21 Feb 2013

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Trevor Birch

PKF ADMINISTRATORS to collapsed club Portsmouth FC have been granted a court date after several delays.

The future of the club rests on its sale to the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST). A court date has been set to resolve a dispute on the valuation of the club's grounds, which will determine whether or not PST will be able to buy Portsmouth FC out of administration.

The PST claims the Fratton Park ground is worth about £2.75m - meanwhile, the owner of the grounds, Portpin, claims it is closer to the region of between £8m and £11m.

A hearing took place today to determine when the case would be heard at the High Court, with a preliminary date given as no later than 19 April - a definitive date will follow in the next few days.

Portsmouth FC entered administration for the second time in two years on 17 February last year, with PKF partners Trevor Birch, (pictured) Ian Gould and Bryan Jackson appointed.

Birch said: "The court has this morning confirmed that the case will be heard by 19 April at the latest, which will enable us to meet the Football League's deadline for the sale of the club, subject to a favourable ruling. We hope that, in the next few days, the court will be able to set a specific date for this hearing.

Papers were filed in November for a court date originally set for 13 and 14 of December. However, the courts pushed that date back until 15 January. It was then postponed again until 31 January, then 14 February, then until today.

It was revealed in court today that Portpin had received correspondence from the Football League. In this correspondence it was unclear whether a bid by Keith Harris, a former Football League chairman, was still be on the table. 

"The court was also made aware that correspondence has been exchanged between the Football League and Portpin which seems to lead to some ambiguity with the League's previous public statements that no other bid would be considered at this late stage. We will be seeking clarification from the League as a matter of urgency," said Birch.

Earlier this week the BBC reported that Harris' offer was rejected by the Football League which is only considering the PST bid. In the same report a statement from the Harris-fronted bid said: "Our bid has the full support of the creditors' committee including HMRC and the PFA [Professional Football Association] as it gives a much greater return to creditors than the PST proposal.

"The only outstanding issue remains the consent of The Football League, and all paperwork in that regard including the business plan, and stadium lease and purchase, are available for immediate consideration by the board of The Football League."

Update:

A Football League spokesman said: "As stated after its most recent meeting, the board of The Football League is not considering alternative applications for the transfer of Portsmouth's share in The Football League.

Instead it remains focussed on a successful transfer of share to the preferred bidder, the Pompey Supporters Trust."

The PST chairman Ashley Brown said he was pleased the bid was proceeding.

"The Football League has also cleared up any confusion by making it clear for a third time that it will only consider a bid from PST."

 

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