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Nov 15, 2012

Fans close to Portsmouth takeover

The Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) is close to taking over at Fratton Park after it was confirmed that a conditional agreement with the League One club's administrators has been signed.

Trevor Birch, of administrators PKF, said the agreement was subject to permission being received for Fratton Park to be sold to the fans' group at the market rate - and that could end the turmoil that has surrounded the 2008 FA Cup winners, who have been relegated twice amid recent financial chaos.

Last month, PKF withdrew preferred bidder status from former Portsmouth owner Balram Chainrai's Portpin company, the largest creditor in the administration process. Portpin currently owns Fratton Park.

And in a statement, Birch explained: "We can confirm that we have signed a sale agreement with the PST to acquire the business of Portsmouth Football Club.

"Portpin has rejected the Trust's offer for Fratton Park, so the sale has to be conditional on receiving the court's permission to sell the ground.

"We are therefore in the process of submitting an application to the court."

He said he believed the club's players, staff and fans would join him in "wishing to see a speedy resolution of what has been a protracted administration".

And he added: "Everyone involved in the transaction has worked incredibly hard to get the deal to this stage.

"Although there is still much that needs to be done, today's announcement marks what is hopefully the beginning of the end of the process."

PST chairman Ashley Brown said Birch's announcement marked "a special day for the club", adding: "This truly is fantastic news and the start of a new chapter for Portsmouth Football Club."

In August, Chainrai revived his bid to buy back Portsmouth and said he would submit a new offer to the administrators after previously saying he would withdraw from the race.

Earlier that month, Portpin had released a lengthy statement in which it ruled itself out of the running for the stricken South Coast club, blaming the administrators for a lack of support.

That left PST as the only remaining bidder - but Chainrai voiced doubts about the viability of the deal and submitted a new offer to KPF.

But earlier this month the businessman again called a halt to his bid, saying: "First, Trevor Birch named Portpin as preferred bidder, then, before the Football League was given any time to actually assess our bid, Trevor Birch decided to suddenly withdraw our preferred bidder status the same day without any credible reasoning.

"The PST was then named by Trevor Birch as the preferred bidder even, though our bid remained with the Football League as they continued the process of evaluating our offer."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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