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Portsmouth set for administration as clock ticks down on takeover talks

CASH-STRAPPED Portsmouth will enter into administration on Friday in a bid to safeguard the club’s future, according to owner Balram Chainrai.

Hong Kong businessman Chainrai is in talks with four potential buyers about a takeover of the south-coast club, but accepts it is unlikely that a deal will be struck before they are due to face a winding-up order in the High Court on Monday.

Chainrai’s spokesman, Phil Hall, told City A.M. that administration – which carries a nine-point penalty in the Premier League – was the only possible course of action as it immediately suspends any winding-up order.

“Mr Chainrai was left with little choice,” Hall said. “He was left between a rock and a hard place and it was a case of either lose the nine points or lose the club altogether.

“On the football front, the club is in a perilous position and it was felt that taking this option now was the only sensible move.

“We have to be realistic – having the club wound up was not an option, for us or for the fans.

“By taking this course of action it means the club can re-emerge as a healthy financial entity, settling debts, paying off creditors and become an attractive proposition for a potential buyer in the future.

“Effectively, it means the club is safe, albeit with a tough love, but it can fulfil its fixtures and it’s back to business as usual.”

Portsmouth, who are bottom of the Premier League table and eight points from safety, have debts thought to total around £70m, with the winding up order relating to more than £7.5m owed to HM Revenue and Customs.

Hall said Chainrai remained committed to finding the best buyer for Portsmouth and said he would continue to fund the club in the interim.

“The partners have put £17m of their own money into the club and have a responsibility towards it,” he added. “Mr Chainrai has agreed to continue funding the club going forward until its long-term future is decided and he will also pay for the administration process out of his own pocket.”