Portsmouth players go unpaid

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The Independent Online

Sulaiman al Fahim's attempt to refinance Portsmouth following his takeover led to players and executive board members not being paid wages owed to them this week, it has been revealed.

Pompey insist the outstanding payments will be made over the weekend at the latest, although the episode has added to the negative image and uncertainty surrounding Al Fahim taking control at Fratton Park.

The Premier League are understood to be monitoring the situation and looking to see if Pompey fulfil the financial criteria set out to clubs, while the Professional Footballers' Association will deal with any contractual issues if players are not paid.

The non-payment, the club explained, was due to "a delay in the transfer of funds" following Al Fahim recent takeover.

"Portsmouth FC can confirm that the first-team squad and executive board was not paid yesterday (Wednesday)," a statement read.

"The club is currently being refinanced by the owner Sulaiman al Fahim following the recent completion of his takeover. There was a delay in the transfer of funds but the lawyers have received confirmation that this will happen today which will enable the players to be paid within the next 24 to 48 hours. The players have all been informed of the situation.

"The executive board will continue to help the new owner in his efforts to refinance which has come about as a direct consequence of the banks' requirements to retain all television receipts and profits generated during the transfer windows."

Chief executive Peter Storrie explained the consequences of handing television and transfer money over straight away, as requested by the banks.

"All the money from all the player transfers and the Sky TV money, all of the £35million from January, has gone straight to the Standard Bank," Storrie told ESPN. "There is no money left.

"Whatever we spend on a monthly basis comes channelled through from the new owner. He has promised to re-finance, and he has shown me all the documentation, but I have no idea about the conditions of the £50million he says will be arriving in a few weeks.

"We need to re-finance, it is as simple as that. As for the players wages for the last month I would imagine it's a blip and they will be paid, but I have spent the last nine to 10 months fighting fires on a daily basis, I'm not giving up."

According to minutes from a meeting on Friday between Al Fahim and the Pompey Virtual Alliance (PVA) - a group of fans' websites - the club's new owner is willing to work with other investors in Portsmouth.

That news was greeted positively by fans, who have seen Paul Hart's men lose their first seven Premier League matches of the season.

Hart, responding to the non-payment of wages, said: "It's a hiccup and a cash-flow problem. We explained to the players in a meeting we will receive the rest by tomorrow - and the players are happy with that. They will get on with their jobs."

Hart added: "You put one fire out and another starts up in the corner. That's how it has been in my tenure as manager.

"But you can spit your dummy out and throw your toys out of the pram, or take it as another fire, put it out and get going again.

"It has been a particularly interesting day from about 8.30 this morning - nothing I can tell you about. But you have choices. You either stick together and get through it or stamp your feet."

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