Portsmouth embargo is not fair play

Portsmouth's manager, Avram Grant, put aside his delight at a 4-1 FA Cup victory away to the club's bitter rivals Southampton yesterday to criticise the Premier League for a lack of fair play.

After a week in which Portsmouth could have gone out of business, he said the transfer embargo under which he is operating should have been lifted for the January window.

"In mid-season is not the time to solve the problem," Grant said. "I told them to wait until the end of the season. A famous tradition of the Premier League is fair play but this is not fair play."

In lighter mood, he added: "I don't know who we could bring in as we don't have any money!" The League are understood to be sounding out other clubs on whether money due this summer should be advanced to help Portsmouth. The spending on fees and wages that allowed them to win the Cup two years ago has caused all their problems, but now they are two matches away from a return to Wembley.

Goalkeeper David James said last night that Portsmouth would be saved because they were "too important to too many people" to go out of business.

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