Pompey Cup final side 'will not be picked by creditors'

Administrator says reports are 'total rubbish' as Premier League confirms corporate investigation of owners
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The Independent Online

Portsmouth's administrator, Andrew Andronikou, told The Independent last night that suggestions the club's creditors could have a say in the line-up of Pompey's FA Cup final team were "total rubbish".

With Andronikou set to meet the creditors today, The Independent can also reveal that the Premier League has used corporate investigators to try to unravel Portsmouth's chaotic changes of ownership in the last year, and examine in whose hands control of the club has ultimately lain at different points.

Portsmouth went into administration in February and Andronikou has since said the debts are more than £100m, as this newspaper exclusively revealed in detail two weeks ago.

Andronikou will meet the creditors today and outline his plans for Pompey to exit administration via a Company Voluntary Arrangement. He will take questions from creditors but, contrary to reports elsewhere, will not make any offer of settlement today.

"Within a week to 10 days, I will make a formal offer [to creditors for settlement of debt," he told The Independent. Andronikou will not confirm what that offer will be, but it is expected to be around 23p in the pound.

"Within 28 days of that offer, so we're talking about early June, the creditors will vote to accept the offer or not," Andronikou said. If creditors who hold 75 per cent or more of the debt accept the offer, Portsmouth will exit administration via the CVA. If the 75 per cent threshold is not reached, Pompey will again face the prospect of being wound up. Andronikou expects the club to survive, somehow.

With most of Portsmouth's players having contractual entitlements to bonuses arising from playing in and/or winning an FA Cup final, it had been suggested these bonuses might affect what Andronikou can offer creditors, and even that Andronikou could canvass creditors for their views. "Utter nonsense," he said. He insisted that issues surrounding bonuses have been or will be sorted out before the final against Chelsea on 15 May. "It's not an issue that's going to affect the CVA," he said.

As The Independent reveals in today's newspaper, Pompey's ongoing financial strife is unfolding against a confusing backdrop of uncertainty over who ultimately owned the club at different points over the past year. In that time it changed hands from Sacha Gaydamak to Sulaiman al-Fahim to Ali al-Faraj to Balram Chainrai to the administrator.

Our revelation that the League has used corporate sleuths to look at the club shows the difficulty the League has had in ascertaining who is really in control, and the necessity for strict new rules that will come into force this summer in relation to incoming owners in the future.

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