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Premier League

Portsmouth delay paying wages again

Portsmouth expect to pay their players' December salaries on January 5.

The club had hoped the outstanding player salaries would be processed today, but the monies will now be cleared after the Bank Holiday.

A statement from Portsmouth read: "Portsmouth Football Club expect to pay their first team squad's December salaries on Tuesday, January 5.

"The club has been speaking to the Professional Footballers' Association and the players have been informed.

"The club has been assured of receipt of funds by Tuesday and the owner and board have been working hard on resolving the short-term delay."

This is the second time this season Portsmouth have been unable to pay players' wages on time.

The south-coast club head into 2010 rooted to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, following the 4-1 home defeat by title-chasers Arsenal on Wednesday night, and beset by financial worries.

Earlier yesterday, Pompey had issued a statement to deny the club had been formally served with a winding-up petition by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in relation to disputed VAT, PAYE and National Insurance contributions of a reported £3.5million.

A High Court date has been set for early next year, but Portsmouth - who continue to operate under a transfer embargo imposed by the Premier League over unpaid transfer debts - are expecting to have the matter resolved before then and the threat of possible administration lifted.

The Fratton Park faithful are becoming increasingly frustrated at the dire financial plight of their club, which in May 2008 were celebrating a famous FA Cup win at Wembley under former boss Harry Redknapp.

Chants of "Where's all our money gone?", "Sack the board" and "You're not fit to run a club" rang out around the ground during Wednesday night's match, as fans sent a clear message to Saudi Arabian owner Ali Al Faraj.

However, chief executive Peter Storrie - himself charged with tax evasion by HMRC, accused of concealing a signing-on fee for Amdy Faye by paying it via the midfielder's agent William McKay - used last night's programme notes to try to allay fears Pompey were set for imminent liquidation.

"Off the field, the financial issues of the club have been prominent in the media once again," he said.

"While we would prefer to keep this in-house and deal with the situation, third parties are ensuring that certain issues are played out in public.

"The majority of the reports are ill-informed, but such is the confidential nature of finance that we are not at liberty to put the record straight all of the time."

Storrie continued: "It has been a very difficult year, but one thing you must believe is that Ali Al Faraj and his associates are doing their very best to refinance the club so we can once again operate the business as we all want to.

"At Ali's request I have also been in discussions regarding further investment with various parties, and these are ongoing.

"The priority, of course, is to get the transfer ban lifted - especially with four of our players away at the African Nations Cup.

"The current squad have already shown they have what it takes to compete with any side in this league, and if we can add even more quality, we will have every chance of surviving."

Aruna Dindane is one of the four Pompey players at the African Nations Cup.

The Ivory Coast striker signed on loan from Lens during the summer, with a view to a permanent move.

However, the French club could look to take the player back should a fee be unable to be paid.

Lens president Gervais Martel told L'Equipe: "I don't want to speak about details in that case but it is very clear - if they don't pay, I want to get my player back."

Other members of non-playing staff at Portsmouth have been told they will also not be paid on time, and are expected to be paid on Monday.

A club spokesman told the Portsmouth News: "The problem was due to a file not being loaded properly at the bank. It wasn't processed properly.

"The club apologise and if there are any knock-on effects financially for employees the club will reimburse them."