Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Portsmouth reveal increased debts

Portsmouth's debts have increased to £138million, it has emerged.

In April, administrator Andrew Andronikou announced debts of £120million as he published a long list of creditors.

However, that figure has now risen by almost £20million, and is reported to have been revealed by Andronikou during a creditors' meeting at Fratton Park this morning.

Portsmouth were relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship after being deducted nine points by the Premier League, but have since gone on to reach the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The financially-stricken south coast club are hoping to be able to finalise a Company Voluntary Arrangement, which will allow Pompey to come out of administration ahead of the new campaign, and so avoid further a points sanction - this time from the Football League.

Pompey's creditors include the taxman as well as former owner Alexandre Gaydamak, and obtaining a CVA requires a 75% approval, with Andronikou reported to be ready to offer a settlement between 20p and 25p in the pound.

It is understood the increase in Portsmouth's overall debt is due to charges from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, which is owed some £17.1million in taxes and National Insurance contributions.

Current owner Balram Chainrai has an outstanding £14.2million loan, which must be repaid in full, while Pompey's "football creditors" are also set to have their debts covered.

The club are also reported to be liable for some £50million to the Football League pension fund.

Portsmouth owe some £17million in transfer fees, while current and former players are short around £5million in bonuses, wages and image rights payments.

While it may not seem a level playing field for the rest of businesses and individuals still owed monies by Pompey, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore maintains such rules are necessary to protect other clubs.

"If you want to keep your status in the pyramid of football, in the 92, you have to pay off those people around you, because you are forced to trade with them again," Scudamore told Sky Sports News.

"If a local business goes bust and someone does not pay, you can go and trade with someone else - there is always another plumber or another builder, somebody else to go and do business with.

"In football, you stay in the ladder, and the cost of staying in the ladder is you have to pay the clubs around you in the ladder.

"It is a football rule which has been there forever.

"I can defend the football rule, but it is difficult of course when local businessmen and St John's Ambulance are owed money.

"The only other option is to say you have to pay all of your debts in full, that, though, is not how the Insolvency Act is, it is not me who has made that more liberal.

"But we do require this closed group to be paid, because you are forced to trade with that closed group, then turn up and play the following Saturday."

Pompey manager Avram Grant wants guarantees going forwards before he will commit on staying in charge.

However, administrator Andronikou has raised doubts over whether the main bidder, a consortium fronted by Cheshire-based property tycoon Rob Lloyd, are now set to table a formal bid.

Midfielder Michael Brown hopes Grant will remain at Fratton Park to start the rebuilding process.

"He has done a great job under difficult circumstances and I am sure the administrator is trying to get him to stay," Brown told the Portsmouth News.

"As players, all we can do is concentrate on what we do and hopefully he is here next season."