Portsmouth sale approved by Football League

October 25, 2010

Portsmouth have been sold to Balram Chainrai, Levi Kushnir and Deepak Chainrai after a deal was struck to allow the club to exit administration.

A financial agreement with former owner Alexandre Gaydamak paved the way for the club’s sale, which has been approved by the Football League.

“It’s a significant moment involved for everyone involved at the club,” said Pompey chief executive David Lampitt.

Balram Chainrai added: “We’re not going to make any rash promises.”

The Football League has lifted the transfer embargo imposed on Pompey, although all deals will require the League’s approval, while the club must also submit monthly financial reports for monitoring.

On Friday the club had claimed they were on the brink of ceasing trading because Gaydamak had refused to sign a deal to sell to Chainrai.

But Gaydamak said late on Saturday that a new agreement had been agreed.

Balram Chainrai, a Hong Kong-based businessman, became Pompey’s fourth owner inside a year when he assumed control of the club in February 2010 before putting them in administration soon after.

“We need to stabilise and Levi and I will be taking time to get a closer understanding of the business so that we can ensure the club is taken forward in the right way,” added Chainrai.

The saga surrounding the ownership of Portsmouth, who won the FA Cup in 2008, began in August 2009 when Gaydamak sold the club to Sulaiman Al Fahim.

Two months later Ali Al Faraj become the new owner when he acquired 90% of the shares from Al Fahim.

Three weeks after that Chainrai lent Al Faraj £17m but the off-pitch turbulence continued as Avram Grant replaced Paul Hart as manager, the club failed several times to pay its players on time and HM Revenue & Customs issued a winding-up order over tax issues.

In February 2010 Chainrai seized the club’s assets before placing the club in administration with debts estimated to be about £120m.

The club subsequently had nine points deducted for going into administration, were relegated from the Premier League and in June appointed a new boss in Steve Cotterill.

In August Portsmouth survived an attempt by HM Revenue & Customs to block a Company Voluntary Agreement, which could have prevented the club exiting administration.

As recently as Friday the club claimed it appeared “likely to close” after a row over £2.2m owed to Gaydamak saw talks break down.

However, on Saturday it was announced Portsmouth would pay Gaydamak £2.5m in instalments over the next five years and the saga was finally concluded late on Saturday when Chainrai resumed control of the club.

The club’s administrators confirmed a deal worth 20p in the pound to unsecured creditors has also been agreed.

The south coast outfit currently lie 13th in the Championship, the second tier of English football.

“We’re now in a position where we can look to move forward on a more stable financial footing,” said David Lampitt.

“This has been an extremely tough journey and the legacy of past events at the club means we still have a long way to travel and a number of battles to fight. ”

Source : BBC Sport