Pompey players go without pay for second time

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth's traumatic season took another turn for the worse last night when the Premier League's bottom club confirmed that their players had not been paid last month.

They have already had two managers and three owners since the end of last season and now, for the second time since August, Portsmouth have been unable to meet their estimated £1.8m monthly wage bill. A similar situation occurred two months ago when the players were paid their September wages late.

A club statement said: "Portsmouth FC can confirm that the majority of the first team squad have not yet received their November salaries. A proportion of their wages will be paid tomorrow, with the club's new owners working towards paying the remainder over the next few days."

Such problems were believed to be in the past for Pompey when Ali al-Faraj's takeover was completed in October. The previous owner Sulaiman al-Fahim struggled to bring in investment having bought out Sacha Gaydamak in the summer but it was hoped that the Saudi businessman would bring some financial stability when he took control from Fahim

Portsmouth, who are seven points adrift of safety in the Premier League and last week brought in Avram Grant as manager, having sacked Paul Hart, are operating under a transfer embargo because of sums they owe on transfers going back two years.

The latest developments pose a major question mark over the hopes of Grant of strengthening his squad for the uphill struggle against relegation and, indeed, over the long-term future of the club.

Last night, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, voiced his concern. "You can understand much better the problems in the Football League and lower down," Taylor said. "Chester City, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Watford – their players have shown a great deal of solidarity and sympathy and understanding [in accepting] deferred wages.

"But, if that is happening in the Premier League, I'm sure it is not good for the image of the game and, if it is the case, it is not going to be highly thought of at the headquarters of the Premier League, either.

"There can't be any good reason in the Premier League with the money they enjoy from television income alone, never mind sponsorship," Taylor added.

"That is what life is about in football, paying the wages of the players.

"I thought this had been solved with the change of ownership at the club a few weeks ago. We had this earlier in the season," the PFA chief executive pointed out.

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