Pompey fear 10-point deduction

 

The Football League board will decide whether Portsmouth will be penalised 10 points after it was announced yesterday that the parent company of the troubled South Coast club has been placed in administration.

The Championship club disclosed yesterday that Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI), the company owned by Vladimir Antonov, had gone into administration. The Russian businessman who bought the club in the summer has resigned as chairman and director of Portsmouth.

The club assured fans that it had "funding in place for the short term". The news left the long-suffering supporters fearing a similar meltdown to the one that took place when Portsmouth were in the Premier League two years ago. In February 2010, Pompey were placed in administration and deducted nine points. They finished bottom, 11 points adrift. Because it is CSI and not Portsmouth who have been placed in administration, it is at the discretion of the Football League board as to whether the club suffer a 10-point deduction, which would mean them dropping to last place in the Championship.

The worrying precedent for Portsmouth is that their local rivals Southampton were relegated from the Championship in May 2009 with a 10-point deduction after their parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings (SLH), went into administration. On that occasion, the Football League board was advised that Southampton football club and SLH were "inextricably linked as one economic entity". Crucial to the decision by the board in the case of Portsmouth will be whether the club is judged to have gained any advantage from off-loading debts during the administration period.

It is that which is likely to incur a 10-point deduction because the league's regulators will regard it as handing Portsmouth an unfair advantage over clubs who have managed their finances more sensibly.

Antonov and his business partner Raimondas Baranauskas were arrested in London on Thursday over an alleged asset-stripping operation at the Lithuanian Snoras Bank. They were released on conditional bail. Both men deny the charges.

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