Portsmouth enter administration

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth have this morning confirmed they have gone into administration.

The move, as expected, follows a failed takeover of the Barclays Premier League club, which has estimated debts of around £70m.

Administration will bring a nine-point penalty for the south-coast club, with the punishment virtually condemning them to relegation to the Coca-Cola Championship.

A statement on the club's official website, www.portsmouthfc.co.uk, confirmed the club entered administration at 10.20am.

It also revealed a press conference will be held at the club's Fratton Park ground at 3pm.

Administrator Andrew Andronikou, of insolvency experts UHY Hacker Young, has started the process of cutting costs at the club to try to keep it as a viable entity.

A major sell-off of players and the prospect of a long period of rebuilding in the Championship now looms.

Some finance experts believe the administrator may have to terminate player contracts now to save cash.

Simon Wilson, partner of restructuring experts, Zolfo Cooper, said: "It seems certain that Portsmouth will be relegated and will need a complete restructure.

"Depending on the level of committed funding available the administrator may need to terminate players' contracts to reduce outgoings because the possibility of selling players outside of the transfer window has already been denied by the Premier League."

Meanwhile, FIFA are set to discuss Portsmouth's plight at their next executive committee meeting on March 18.

Today's news was expected after eight days which signalled the club's fate.

Last Thursday they asked the Premier League for permission to sell players outside the transfer window, which was rejected two days later.

On Sunday chief executive Peter Storrie revealed a South African consortium were pursuing a deal to Portsmouth - but nothing came of it.

Current owner Balram Chainrai confirmed the club would go into administration if they did not find a buyer by today - and despite New Zealand-based businessman Victor Cattermole admitting his interest in buying the club, a deal was not done in time.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Hampshire club dismissed speculation Pompey boss Avram Grant has left the club.

There was talk of Grant hosting a press conference early this afternoon, ahead of the one planned for Fratton Park.

However, the spokesman said: "That's not the case. As far as I'm aware he's still with the club."

Chainrai's spokesman, Phil Hall, said: "He hasn't made a penny out of the club.

"He was asked in October to put in £17million as a loan, for six weeks, and he agreed to do that.

"At the end of six weeks he expected his money to be returned and that didn't happen. He gave them a bit of a grace period but the loan wasn't repaid so in January he took over the shares of the club.

"He put another £2million in this week to make sure the staff were paid."

Asked how Pompey ended up in administration, Hall continued: "The club's debt is too great.

"He (Chainrai) was also given false promises when he came in. He was told the club had certain debts but didn't know that Premier League rules say football debts become a priority, that money owed on transfers must be paid first.

"He asked the questions and was given answers and assurances that turned out not to be true.

"Having put £17million of his own money in unfortunately he found the club facing a winding-up order on Monday.

"He had a choice of allowing the club to go into administration, for someone to go in and try to bring it back into a stronger financial position.

"He feels he's a victim - the club have been overwhelmed by these debts and he is a reluctant owner."

However, Hall believes there could be a satisfactory outcome for Chainrai and the club.

Hall added on Sky Sports News: "He's been left holding the baby but he wants to do what's right...he feels this is the right solution.

"Buying a business with a huge debt around its neck is not an attractive proposition - but there are parties who say they are interested.

"Some of them may be interested if they are on a stronger financial footing."