Portsmouth prepare for court hearing with 'liquidation a real possibility'

The south coast club remain entangled in a messy divorce from their many ownership problems in recent years, with a ruling set to decide upon the sale of Fratton Park
Portsmouth are relying on a ruling in their favour when administrator Trevor Birch heads to the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday and Friday, as they seek a resolution to the sale of Fratton Park.

The club's administrators, PKF, have agreed in principle to sell the club to the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) but require Fratton Park, which is currently still owned by former owner Balram Chainrai, to be sold to the Trust.

Chainrai, a Hong Kong businessman, claims he is still owed £12 million by the club and consequently holds Fratton Park as security, leaving the club hoping for a positive ruling through the courts this week.

Birch told the BBC: “Liquidation is a real possibility if the PST is unable to complete its bid."

Chainrai will not attend the hearing on Thursday but has lodged a third bid for the club via his company Portpin, after rejecting a £2.75m bid from PST for the stadium.

"The purpose of the hearing is to ask the Court to give the administrators permission to sell Fratton Park, which is currently subject to a mortgage in favour of Portpin," added Birch.

"The Court will also, at the same hearing, determine the 'market value' of the property after listening to expert witnesses.

"If the Court agrees with the value that the PST has placed on the property, then a sale of the club to the PST can proceed very quickly.

"It is impossible at this stage to predict what will happen if we lose because there are so many variables."

Chainrai has referred to the bid from PST as having “no substance”, while maintaining his offer was the only one with “the experience and money to return Portsmouth to its former glories,” yet the Football League said on Monday that they will approve the bid from the Trust if they can resolve two problematic areas.

"The outcome of the current High Court proceedings relating to the ownership of Fratton Park" and "the PST raising the remaining funding from supporters that is anticipated in its business plan,” are the two areas in question.