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Gaydamak ready to sell Portsmouth

Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak
Gaydamak became sole owner of Portsmouth in July 2006

Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak has put the club up for sale.

The 32-year-old Franco-Russian businessman cited growing business commitments for his decision.

He told the Sunday Mirror: "I have come to realise over a period of time that I can no longer invest the time required to oversee the running of the club."

However, Gaydamak said he will not sell to anyone without a guarantee they will commit to funding a new stadium and training ground for the club.

Recent reports have suggested that a South African consortium has been in discussions over an acquisition of the club, but Portsmouth have issued a categorical denial.

Portsmouth insist that while the consortium expressed an interest a number of weeks ago, no offer has been received and there has been no further contact.

Daniel Craig David James

However, Gaydamak revealed that he has rejected two offers for the club.

"I didn't feel the buyers' motives were in the best interests of the club's long-term future," he said.

"Making money from the sale of the club does not interest me. Finding the right buyer is far more important."

Gaydamak became co-owner of Portsmouth, alongside then-chairman Milan Mandaric, in January 2006.

He immediately pumped about 20m into the club, which enabled then-manager Harry Redknapp to make a host of signings to help save the club from relegation.

In July that year, Gaydamak bought out Mandaric at a cost of about 32m to solely take the helm at Fratton Park and then set out his strategy to find a new stadium and training facilities for the club.

Gaydamak insists he will now seek assurances that any potential buyer will ensure those ambitions become reality.

He said: "As regards the new stadium and training ground it is sensible to re-evaluate things in the current market, but I stress that it is imperative that they go ahead.

"And until I find a buyer who will give me cast iron assurances that this will be the case, I will remain at the club."

Gaydamak has also moved to quell speculation that his announcement to sell the club will spark an exodus of players.

When Redknapp left Portsmouth to become Tottenham manager in October, he hinted that he was leaving behind a club with financial difficulties.

It will be heartbreaking when I eventually have to leave - the hardest part is that I am walking away from the best supporters in football

Alexandre Gaydamak

Since then, a host of Pompey stars have been linked with a move away from Fratton Park - with a reunion with Redknapp rumoured in some cases.

But Gaydamak insisted: "We are not in financial meltdown and it is nonsense to suggest we have to start selling players.

"The credit crunch is having an adverse affect on everyone but we are addressing the key issues.

"I have a very fit and able board that have worked tirelessly to evaluate the current financial problems impacting in everyone and deal with them accordingly."

During Gaydamak's tenure, Portsmouth have won the FA Cup, played in Europe for the first time in their history and established themselves in the Premier League.

Gaydamak said: "It will be heartbreaking when I eventually have to leave. The hardest part is that I am walking away from the best supporters in football.

"Last season's success was one of great personal satisfaction, one of the proudest moments of my life.

"I would like to think that I am leaving the club in far better shape and with immense future potential."

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see also
Pompey offers yet to materialise
20 Nov 08 |  Portsmouth
Gaydamak buys out Pompey chairman
19 Jul 06 |  Portsmouth

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