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Aug 7, 2012

Ben Haim accuses administrators

Tal Ben Haim has accused administrators PKF of having "blood on their hands" if Portsmouth shut down on Friday and claimed he is only £300,000 short of agreeing a deal to walk away from his remaining one-year £3 million contract.

• Ben Haim stands firm over demands

Pompey have set an August 10 deadline to resolve the club's future, with former owner Balram Chainrai only willing to bring them out of liquidation via a company voluntary arrangement on the condition that the wage bill is cleared.

Ben Haim is one of only two senior players left at the club and is refusing to back down on the back pay he is owed, although he insists he is prepared to compromise.

"I signed a four-year contract with Portsmouth in 2009," Ben Haim said in a statement. "Since then, because of the club's failure to manage its finances on no less than two occasions I have personally lost a figure in excess of £2 million. I currently have approximately one year left on my contract.

"I want this club to survive and I will do everything possible to enable this historic club to continue to play football in the Football League."

He added: "Since February 2012, when PKF were appointed, the only thing we have heard is that it is more likely than not that they are going to have to liquidate the club.

"This approach has destroyed the team spirit and led to the club being relegated from a position and with a squad everybody expected to stay in the Championship.

"Also this talk of liquidation has done nothing but destroy any interest from any other party, other than Mr Chainrai, to buy the club. What a ridiculous position.

"Most of the negotiations were done through the media. When they actually sat and talked to us through the manager, the majority of the players moved quickly to do what was best for the club and themselves.

"As far as I'm concerned, an offer has been made to me only recently. I have offered to waive a further £1.5 million of my current contract. They now tell me this is not good enough.

"The fact is that we are only about £300,000 apart in negotiations. If they want to liquidate the club for that money while they still charge their huge fees then all I can say is that the blood is very much on their hands."

Administrator Trevor Birch told ESPN: "It might sound easy, just £300,000, but it might be the amount that breaks the camel's back, because there are actually big numbers to carry forward, £8 million to £9 million, that is the rescued liability we have been asked to get down to, and that is pretty big.

"But we haven't got down to that amount because we have till to settle with Kanu, Liam Lawrence and of course Ben Haim. To say we have blood on our hands as administrators... well, what do you think we think about that? It's not helpful, put it that way.

"It is an issue for Chanrai or the Pompey Supporters Trust - they cannot take the club forward with such huge liabilities. The sheer extent of the football debt is already huge.

"We are getting toward Wednesday, so I have no idea what the view will be by the end of the week. All I can say about Ben Haim is that there is a deal on the table for him, and if he is right about the £300,000 that has to be added to the big numbers in terms of the liabilities someone will have to take on if they wish to go forward.

"What will happen on Friday? Who knows? But we don't have a lot of time left."

There is a possibility that the administrators will be asked to extend their deadline in the hope of resolving the outstanding issues with the last three players, but it might be impossible to achieve that, irrespective of any extension.

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