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Portsmouth back in court after HMRC challenge

DEBT-RIDDEN Portsmouth are due before the High Court again today after it was revealed Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs had challenged their decision to go into voluntary administration.

The Premier League club entered administration on Friday after failing to clinch a last-ditch takeover deal before yesterday’s scheduled winding-up order. Administrator Andrew Andronikou was informed of HMRC’s objection yesterday, and although he is unclear as to the nature of their complaint, he remains confident the south-cast club will be able to proceed as planned.

“We’re having to go to court to show that the debenture is valid,” he said. “I don’t understand the exact reason why this is, we’re just following normal protocol.

“We’re not unduly worried. It’s not standard procedure but I’d imagine that HMRC are basically crossing their Is and dotting their Ts. We’re expecting the administration to proceed as it was.”

The news came on an otherwise encouraging day for the top-flight’s bottom club after New Zealand businessman Victor Cattermole claimed his Endeavor Plan consortium were still interested in buying Portsmouth despite Friday’s developments.

Cattermole was one of four interested parties locked in talks with the Pompey board last week, and insists he hasn’t changed his stance despite the club losing nine points as a result of slipping into administration.

“Were still interested in buying Portsmouth,” Cattermole said.

“We still have to carry out due diligence and see what is owed, what is expected to be paid for it and what the value’s going to be once the whole issue of relegation and the nine-point issue is sorted out.

“My solicitor in London has been in discussions with Andrew as recently as [this morning]. Once Andrew’s got his head around all the administration issues and can put a pack together of what is really the situation, I’ll be heading up to London. We’ll be sitting round the table to see if we can put a deal together.

“I think [the chance of a deal] is quite good because I really don’t think the situation is as bad as people would think.”