Crystal Palace on verge of closure

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The Independent Online

Crystal Palace face liquidation unless the consortium attempting to buy the stricken club can complete the deal by tomorrow afternoon.

CPFC 2010, the group headed by local businessmen Steve Parish and Martin Long, claim they have until 3pm tomorrow to secure their takeover or Agilo, the hedge fund which put Palace into administration in January, will begin selling off players and dissolving the club.

The consortium, whose bid to save the club has stalled over the sale of their Selhurst Park ground, have even called on Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene with the south London club on the brink of going out of business.

Selhurst Park is currently under the control of separate administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers, who are selling the ground on behalf of Bank of Scotland.

The sticking point appears to be a clause in the deal which would see the bank receive further money if the ground was sold on in the future.

A statement from CPFC 2010 read: "We have now reached agreement with Agilo regarding their debt against the club and did have what we thought was an agreement with Bank of Scotland, who are the major creditor of Selhurst Park Ltd.

"Subsequent to this agreement we have been sent a contract that does not reflect this agreement and is unworkable.

"As we sit today the future of Crystal Palace hangs in the balance and is very much in the hands of a person in a bank in Scotland whom we have never met and, it seems, we are not allowed to speak to.

"We note the new government's commitment to sport, particularly sport in the community. Bank of Scotland is currently government owned.

"As such we would urge the new Prime Minister to intervene personally to resolve the situation or see a club supported by many thousands, and with a 100-year history, consigned to the scrapheap."

Palace avoided relegation to League One on the final day of the season when a 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday sent the Yorkshire team down instead.

But Brendan Guilfoyle, the administrator running the club, on Friday made 29 members of staff redundant and does not have the money to pay the wages for May.

Palace fans were planning to hold a demonstration at Selhurst Park this afternoon in an attempt to highlight the club's plight.

Guilfoyle admitted he was "concerned" about the future of the Eagles.

He has agreed a deal to sell midfielder Darren Ambrose to QPR and will have to offload further players, effectively ending any hopes of a takeover, unless the issue with the bank can be resolved.

Guilfoyle told Sky Sports News: "I'm millions of pounds behind, staff weren't paid on Friday and a number were made redundant, others were asked to carry on working for nothing and it's not a situation I can allow to continue for long.

"So I've got to start selling players, and if I do that the indications are that 2010 will withdraw.

"Since they are the only party willing to acquire the club then there is a distinct possibility that once I've sold the players I'll have to walk away and let the liquidation process continue.

"There are terms agreed on Darren and I would be in a position to move on him immediately, and there is interest in other players. We are holding our breath hoping 2010 can get across the line.

"I'd become quite complacent, thinking we were moving towards a deal tomorrow. The bank has got to get involved and has got to understand the issue the consortium have and see whether they can resolve it.

"I've been confident but I'm not confident anymore, I'm concerned now. I'm concerned that this problem might not be overcome in time."

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