Portsmouth suffer High Court defeat

PORTSMOUTH’S battle to avoid administration suffered another blow yesterday when they lost their High Court bid to have a winding-up order struck out.

Pompey failed to convince Mr Justice Newey that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs had overcalculated the VAT portion of their mammoth tax bill by £7.5m.

The Premier League’s bottom club hinted last night that they could appeal the decision. If they do not, a further hearing to consider the winding-up petition is expected to take place on 10 February.

Portsmouth’s lawyers Neumans LLP said in a statement: “Having been given permission to appeal, the club now has seven days to lodge an appeal. At present, the club is not able to estimate when any appeal as may be made will be heard by the Court of Appeal.”

A spokesman for HMRC said: “We now expect that, subject to any appeal, the petition will in due course be heard by the High Court in the usual way.”

Financially-stricken Portsmouth have paid their players late on three occasions this season and only last week had a £7m payment from the Premier League withheld in order to offset money owed to other clubs for transfers.

Those debts have also seen them subjected to a transfer embargo, although Pompey chiefs have demanded it be lifted and even threatened the Premier League with legal action if it is not.