• Club react strongly to ‘inaccurate media speculation’• ‘HM Revenue and Customs were paid £2m’ this week
Portsmouth have responded to speculation over the financial state of the club by insisting they are not on the verge of going into administration.
Speculation over Pompey’s position has intensified since it was revealed last week that their players had not been paid their wages on time for a second time this season. But in a strongly worded statement this morning, the troubled club reiterated the determination of the new owner, Ali al-Faraj, to tackle their financial problems.
“The owner and board of Portsmouth Football Club are disappointed at recent inaccurate media speculation regarding the club’s finances and the threat of administration. Ali al-Faraj and his associates took over the running of the club and inherited a business that had substantial debts,” read the statement. “Dealing with the finances has been the priority since al-Faraj came in to pay the players before taking over the club from Sulaiman al-Fahim. The club is not going into administration. If that were the case it would have happened at the end of September or early October.
“This week alone, HM Revenue and Customs were paid £2m and other historical arrears are being dealt with on an ongoing basis.
“The new owner has not had the benefit of TV revenue to aid the club, with the next major instalment due in January. However, he and his associates have already invested substantial funds to keep the club operating and will continue to do so.
“The owner remains committed to the club and has shown that through his investment to date. He will also provide manager Avram Grant with all the tools he needs to ensure the club reaches a position the players’ performances deserve – away from the relegation zone.
“Despite media rumours, Peter Storrie also remains chief executive and has been holding talks on behalf of the club in other parts of the world.
“Much is happening behind the scenes but constant malicious rumours and speculation do not assist with the proposed major long-term funding that is currently being put in place.
“Finally, we would like to place on record our thanks for the unwavering support shown by our very loyal fans.”
Portsmouth have endured a turbulent year with the ownership of the club changing hands twice.
Fahim’s protracted takeover took three months to complete and then lasted just six weeks after players’ wages for September were not paid on time.
Fahim sold 90% of his shares to Faraj in October but further administrative difficulties led to a second payment delay for last month.
The south coast club is also currently the subject of a Premier League transfer embargo and the problems have been reflected in results on the field with the team bottom of the table after 15 games.
The manager, Paul Hart, paid the price for the club’s poor start to the season with the sack last month. He was replaced by Grant who has won one and lost two of his three matches in charge.
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