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Premier League reject Portsmouth's transfer plea

Portsmouth have lurched from one crisis to another this season
Portsmouth have lurched from one crisis to another this season

The Premier League has rejected struggling Portsmouth's request for permission to sell players outside the transfer window.

Fifa, which sets transfer rules, had indicated it would look favourably on Pompey, who have debts of about £60m.

But the Premier League board has decided it would "not be appropriate" to grant the request.

Pompey are due in court on 1 March to contest a winding-up order which could see them go into administration.

Should that happen, the club, which is rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, will automatically lose nine points and almost certainly be relegated.

606: DEBATE
famouszukeeper

And there is even a real threat of the club going extinct, says financial expert Simon Wilson, as he believes administration is an unlikely option.

"Arguably, the level of debt associated with this case will mean that it is unlikely that a suitable or willing benefactor will be found," said Wilson, a partner with restructuring experts Zolfo Cooper.

"Portsmouth therefore face the very real threat of liquidation because it is increasingly unlikely that an administration order will be sought or granted.

"In this eventuality, the players' contracts are no longer assets of the club and it would lose its membership of the Premier League."

Had Portsmouth's transfer request been granted, helping them stave off administration, it would have aided their bid to stay in the Premier League but was likely to infuriate their fellow strugglers.

And a Premier League statement read: "The Premier League board can confirm they have been actively considering a request from Portsmouth to transfer players outside of the Transfer Window.

"We are grateful for positive assistance from Fifa and the FA but, having given the matter further consideration and taking into account all factors, the Premier League board have decided that this would not be an appropriate course of action at this time."

Burnley manager Brian Laws
I would hate to think the Premier League would allow them such a ridiculous thing beyond the transfer window

Burnley manager Brian Laws

In line with the rest of Europe, there are two transfer windows a year in England, running from 1 January to 31 January and from 1 June to 31 August.

Portsmouth sold three players in that window but their financial position has since worsened and they were desperate to raise extra capital by offloading more players.

But Brian Laws, manager of fellow relegation battlers Burnley, claimed it would be "ridiculous" to allow Pompey to sell players outside the transfer window.

The Clarets are one off the bottom of the table, seven points better off than Pompey, and Laws said: "Whilst we have every sympathy with a football club that has difficulties, the only ones they should be looking at are themselves.

"They got themselves into it, (they should) get themselves out of it. I would hate to think the Premier League would allow them such a ridiculous thing beyond the transfer window.

"Allowing them to get a player out of the door, get some finances in, and then he goes and scores a goal against us that could be the goal that takes us down - that's ridiculous.

The level of debt associated with this case will mean it is unlikely a suitable or willing benefactor will be found - Portsmouth therefore face the very real threat of liquidation

Financial expert Simon Wilson

"I would think 100% of the Premier League would be saying the same."

Pompey did not identify any specific players for sale but reports suggested Algeria international Nadir Belhadj, midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng and defender Marc Wilson would have been made available.

Portsmouth, who have failed to pay the players on time four times already this season, have had four owners this campaign and are understood to be in negotiations with two buyers who are interested in taking them over.

They survived a winding-up order last week but were forced to deliver a detailed statement of their finances to both the High Court and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on Wednesday.

And they face another winding up petition from HMRC over an unpaid £11.7m tax bill on 1 March, while claims against the club by former owner Sacha Gaydamak and former defender Sol Campbell, as well as the Premier League's decision to withhold £2m from their January transfer income, have only added to the club's problems.



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see also
Grant angry over player transfers
19 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth reveal financial state
17 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey chairman denies debt claim
17 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey get provisional court date
12 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey given extra time by court
10 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey takeover to be challenged
04 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Groups 'express Pompey interest'
07 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth transfer embargo ended
26 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth


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