Portsmouth dismiss 85 staff

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth have been forced to make 85 staff redundant as a result of ongoing cost-cutting measures under the administration of UHY Hacker Young.

The administrators' spokeman, Andrew Andronikou, revealed the news today but insisted the club will be able to stave off questions from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over the validity of the administration process and that he is receiving "enquiries on a daily basis" regarding a takeover.

He also revealed chief executive Peter Storrie has taken a 40% wage cut, but admitted his hands were tied in relation to the club's playing wage bill.

Andronikou told a news conference: "Today is extremely difficult - there's always a day in the administration when you have to question whether you like the job you are doing, but it is a necessary job.

"We have unfortunately had to make 85 employees redundant today. The club had in its employment 166 full-time staff, including players, and 154 part-time staff - excluding weekend and matchday staff.

"May I take this opportunity to thank these people for their contributions to the club and wish them well in their future.

"The redundancies were made across all areas. They are the visible cuts we are making. There will be other cuts that you won't see, but you will see them filter down in the cashflow in the short-to-medium term.

"We've had to use the administration to take (staffing) down to a level that I can manage and if unfortunately the club is relegated, it will have to be reviewed again as the overheads won't fit into a Championship environment."

Peter Storrie, whose salary and role in the club's governance has been the subject of much scrutiny and criticism, remains in his post as chief executive.

But Andronikou said: "He would like to make it known that he has taken a 40% cut in his basic wage.

"Peter Storrie has tended his resignation, he is working to a timetable. He is still chief executive today. It may very well change. We are in a situation where we are having to adapt to an evolving story."

Andronikou admitted, though, that representation from the Professional Footballers' Association ruled out the possibility of releasing players to ease the wage bill and that he is reliant on individual players agreeing to wage cuts as a goodwill gesture.

"As regards the players, they are very much protected by the PFA. Unfortunately I am unable to make any cuts," he said.

"One or two have discussed the possibility of reviewing their situation with the club but unless the players want to come forward and talk to you, I can't really discuss the details."

The biggest spectre hanging over the club, of course, remains the High Court proceedings brought by HMRC.

On the day that Blue Square Premier side Chester were wound up and Football League outfits Cardiff and Southend were given 56 and 35 days respectively to settle their outstanding tax debts, Andronikou expressed hope that Pompey's future can be secured.

HMRC have raised objections to the process by which the club entered administration but Andronikou said: "We had a very constructive meeting with HMRC yesterday afternoon.

"The club has now provided HMRC with a detailed analysis of its financial transactions with Portpin Ltd (owner Balram Chainrai's company).

"HMRC should now be satisfied that the said debenture is valid. We are hoping that this matter will be resolved shortly and are awaiting a written response."

On the prospect of a takeover, he added: "The relevant documentation, including NDAs - non-disclosure agreements - and a sales memorandum have now been produced with anticipation of taking negotiations to sell the club forward. We are receiving enquiries on a daily basis.

"I reiterate this message to all (interested) parties: You need to provide proof of funds and a prudent financial covenant before we release further documentation to you. All personal references will be scrutinised by ourselves and the Premier League."

Regardless of the outcome of any talks, though, Andronikou maintained: "The club will certainly fulfil its fixture list this season and begin the new season in August 2010.

"We hope to meet with the Premier League in the very short term to discuss the matters that were left in abeyance last week (the imposition of a nine-point deduction for entering administration).

"The club will not be denied any money owed to it arising from its recent success in the FA Cup and will certainly take its place in the semi-finals."

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