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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Sunday, 7 February 2010

'Two or three' new suitors express Pompey interest

Fratton Park
Portsmouth face a winding-up order in the High Court on Wednesday

Portsmouth have been approached by "two or three" groups interested in taking over the club, according to the club's executive director Mark Jacob.

Hong Kong-based businessman Balram Chainrai last week became the debt-ridden club's fourth owner this season but is looking to quickly sell it.

And Jacob told BBC 5 Live's Sportsweek that could happen soon.

"Two or three groups have approached the board and Mr Chainrai over the possibility of taking over," he said.

Jacob, appointed by the south coast club's previous owner Ali Al-Faraj, revealed the new suitors had approached the Fratton Park board "over the last couple of days" and that talks were in "preliminary stages".

"It's quite delicate at the moment but we're confident that, yes, someone or a group will be in place very soon to move things forward to allow Mr Chainrai to step aside," he said.


Chainrai has taken a 90% shareholding from Al Faraj after exercising a clause relating to a £17m loan made by his company Portpin to the club.

"He is technically the new owner, all subject to the Premier League's fit and proper person test," said Jacob.

"It is an interim measure where he is taking control pending new investment or a potential new owner. He's come in to stabilise the club on a short-term basis."

Jacob said Chainrai will be in London next week and is available to meet Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

But that meeting could prove incidental if a fresh takeover bid gathers pace.

Jacob refused to disclose the identities of the new interested parties but, when asked where they were from, said: "They're from different parts of the globe and some more locally.

"It's got to the stage where the board will have to take every due care and consideration into the people who do come to the table with regard to proof of funds.

"We can't have any more short-termism at the club."

The club, whose financial woes have resulted in the late payment of players' wages this season, face a winding-up order on Wednesday over a £7.5m Vat bill.

We can't have any more short-termism at the club

Executive director Mark Jacob

Portsmouth have lodged an appeal against the order and lawyer Jacob attempted to reassure fans that administration was not on the horizon.

"We're confident that if the appeal goes in our favour then that will delay matters.

"I'm confident the club will not go into administration and I urge Portsmouth supporters to keep the faith."

Jacob, meanwhile, gave his tentative backing to manager Avram Grant after newspaper reports last week alleged the Israeli had visited a brothel.

"It's a private matter between Avram and his family. The board is fully supportive of the team and the coach.

"Avram Grant is gradually turning things around. There is a fighting spirit in the club."

Grant's team were drubbed 5-0 at Manchester United on Saturday to leave them firmly rooted to the bottom of the Premier League - six points off their nearest relegation rivals, Wolves.

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see also
Man Utd 5-0 Portsmouth
06 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Portsmouth give wages assurance
02 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Stoke sign Pompey keeper Begovic
01 Feb 10 |  Stoke
Storrie refuses to quit at Pompey
29 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth sign Kaboul from Spurs
11 Aug 08 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth transfer embargo ended
26 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey reported over Muntari deal
21 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth
Storrie in court over tax charge
20 Jan 10 |  Hampshire
Pompey 'working hard' to pay debt
15 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth

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