Portsmouth banned from emergency player sale

Premier League reacts to the concerns of rivals' managers after Fifa ruling

The Premier League last night changed its mind over allowing Portsmouth to sell players outside the transfer window and told the debt-ridden club that they would not be permitted the special measures – despite getting the green light from Fifa.

The world governing body gave the go-ahead for Portsmouth to sell players this month in order to ease their chronic finances, as revealed in The Independent yesterday. However, after they were given permission from Zurich, the Premier League decided at a board meeting yesterday that allowing Portsmouth to sell players outside the window would harm the integrity of the competition.

The decision was taken by chief executive Richard Scudamore, chairman Dave Richards and Mike Foster, general secretary. Privately they were concerned that Portsmouth should go into administration before they were extended any special measures. Other clubs in the relegation battle have expressed worries that Portsmouth would try to avoid administration and the resulting nine-point penalty.

Sources close to the decision said yesterday that Portsmouth had not explored "all the options available" to a club in their circumstances to deserve such a unique measure. Clubs around Portsmouth were also unhappy that players sold by the club, which has debts of more than £60m, could have a decisive say in the title race elsewhere.

Earlier yesterday, Fifa had laid down specific conditions by which Portsmouth would have been able to sell players outside the transfer window. Any players sold by Portsmouth would only have been able to play in league games for their new clubs and not in the Carling Cup final or the remaining rounds of the FA Cup.

Fifa told the Premier League that Portsmouth were "their problem" and therefore any special measures should only affect the integrity of the league rather than any other competition. Without Fifa permission, Portsmouth would not have been able to sell players this month. Having approved the option, Fifa told the Premier League it was their call as to whether they allowed the club to go ahead with it.

Fifa and the Premier League were concerned that if Portsmouth went into liquidation their results will have to be expunged; their remaining fixtures would not be played and the integrity of the competition would be called into question. That appears to be a risk that the Premier League is prepared to take.

Portsmouth have been the subject of a winding-up order by HM Revenue and Customs over more than £12m in unpaid taxes. They will go back to the High Court on 1 March when they hope to convince the court there is a benefit in them being allowed to continue trading. Administration is the very least they can expect – the worst-case scenario is liquidation.

The Premier League board was swayed by lobbying and criticism of the special measures, especially from Burnley manager Brian Laws who said that any special dispensation for Portsmouth would be "ridiculous".

Laws said: "We all work within rules and regulations. That is the way the Football League or Premier League has worked for hundreds of years. Why should we have to change that for one particular club who are finding it very difficult with their finances?

"While we have every sympathy with a football club that has difficulties, the only ones they should be looking at are themselves. They should be looking in a mirror to find the answer."

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant, whose team are seven points adrift at the bottom of the table and face Stoke City today, said yesterday that Younes Kaboul and Asmir Begovic were sold behind his back last month

Grant said: "It has happened to me for the first time in my life. I needed to take a decision, and I took a decision to stay and do everything I could for the club. There are many things that have happened here that I don't like. Things have happened here that I never accepted in the past and I will not accept in the future. But because of the club and the fans, I am trying to do the best I can with this situation."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game