New Pompey owner applies for stay of execution

PORTSMOUTH have appealed for next week’s potentially fatal winding-up hearing to be delayed after being taken over by Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai.

Chainrai’s company Portpin was yesterday confirmed as the financially-stricken club’s fourth owner in the space of six months.

The 51-year-old took charge after previous owner Ali Al-Faraj defaulted on a loan repayment, triggering an option for Chainrai to take a 90 per cent stake.

Chainrai had to act or risk losing his investment and has made it clear he does not want to stay at Portsmouth in the long term. But before that he must drag the Premier League’s bottom club, thought to have debts of around £60m, back from the brink of administration.

Wednesday’s court hearing of a winding-up order brought by HM Revenue and Customs could tip it into liquidation, which would trigger a nine-point penalty. But Pompey hope HMRC, in light of Chainrai’s takeover, will allow the club extra time to get their house in order.

“Mr Chainrai wishes to stabilise the club’s situation until new owners for the club are found,” read a statement from Portsmouth.

“Peter Storrie continues as the chief executive officer of the club and continues to run the club. Meanwhile new owners are being found for the long-term future of the club.

“The club will now apply to HMRC to adjourn next week’s winding-up hearing to allow time for the club to be stabilised and new owners found.”

Portpin’s takeover fell into place when Al-Faraj failed to make a repayment on a £17m loan, entitling Chainrai to a 90 per cent shareholding. Had he chosen to let Al-Faraj stay in charge, he would have run the risk of the club going into liquidation and losing his investment.

Chainrai, who is of Nepalese descent but has a British passport, and his business partner in Portpin, Levi Kushnir, were part of a consortium, assembled by Storrie, which tried to buy the club in August.