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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Portsmouth administrator Andrew Andronikou faces probe

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'Business as usual' for Pompey

Portsmouth will return to the High Court on 15 March after their case against Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs was adjourned on Tuesday.

HMRC challenged the club going into voluntary administration and questioned the validity of Andrew Andronikou's appointment as administrator.

It was claimed that Andronikou may have links with owner Balram Chainrai, compromising his independence.

Mr Justice Norris ordered a ruling into Andronikou's appointment in two weeks.

The new twist in the rocky fortunes of the club came after a challenge by the taxman to the administration and the judge ruled the "shadow over the appointment should be removed".

Gregory Mitchell QC, representing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), asked the court: "Have these administrators been validly appointed?

"The question of validity is a fundamental issue and that has to be determined one way or the other as quickly as possible."

"Our concern is that there should be a full and independent investigation of the position and the transactions between the club and Mr Chainrai.

606: DEBATE
Ice-Road-Trucker

"We say that if there is no proper evidence of funds having been provided to the administrators to meet the club's financial needs, then there is a real danger the administration will fail to achieve the proper purpose."

Simon Barker QC, representing Portsmouth, said Portpin, Chainrai's company, was providing £15m which was more than enough to keep Portsmouth afloat until the end of the season.

Mr Barker said: "There is no reason to impugn the conduct of these administrators at all. There is no reason the court should have any doubts about their appointment and independence.

"The administrators want the air cleared in a way which allows them to get on with their task."

Mr Justice Norris, in a ruling, said: "A shadow has been cast over the existing appointment of the administrators and it is clear that shadow should be removed as quickly and cheaply as possible."

He also directed that Portsmouth should provide evidence of "each and every sum" which Portpin lent to the club and also "full particulars" of any money paid to Portpin and Mr Chainrai by the club.

Andronikou is continuing to press on with his work as administrator, however, despite the High Court hearings.

"Everything is going according to plan and falling into place," said Andronikou. "The most important thing is now is to sell the club.

"It is very positive. I had meetings yesterday. I made the bold statement that I need proof of funds before I talk and that is happening now.

"I've not only got to sell the club, I've got to sell it to the right people."

Andronikou will also meet the Premier League on Thursday to discuss Pompey's proposed nine-point penalty for entering administration.

The deduction would leave the Hampshire club on 10 points - 14 from safety and virtual certainties for relegation to the Championship.

Andronikou will also explore whether clubs will consider allowing Portsmouth to sell players and then take them back on loan for the remainder of the season.

We do think that there remain some very tough questions for the football authorities to address

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw

There will also be a discussion of the possibility of television revenue being forwarded early to the club, who have had four owners this season and on Friday became the first Premier League club to enter administration.

A Pompey spokesman said before the case: "We don't want to pre-empt anything or pre-judge what will happen, but hopefully the Premier League and our fellow Premier League clubs will be as sympathetic as possible to our situation.

"The Premier League have been incredibly understanding and [club owner] Balram Chainrai would like to place on record his gratitude to chief executive Richard Scudamore, chairman Sir David Richards, company secretary and head of football administration Jane Purdon, general secretary Mike Foster and director of finance and administration Javed Khan."

Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said Portsmouth's financial woes should act as a "wake-up call" to the sport's authorities.

The game's governing body had some "very tough questions" to answer about football finance, the MP told the House of Commons.

He urged the Football Association to adopt the changes to the way the game is run that were recommended by Lord Burns in 2005.



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see also
Kiwi businessman eyes Pompey deal
01 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey's James would take pay cut
28 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Administrator vows to save Pompey
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Reaction to Portsmouth's plight
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth enter administration
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
Pompey labelled 'dysfunctional'
26 Feb 10 |  Portsmouth
What the Burns report says
12 Aug 05 |  Football


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