PFA chief shock at Pompey demise
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor is shocked by recent events at Portsmouth and never thought he would see the day when another Premier League club would fail to pay players' wages after the demise of Leeds United.
Portsmouth missed the end of month payments but have reassured their players the money will be coming before they play this weekend. And Taylor has urged his members not to consider refusing to play, even if they have still not been paid.
The players' union leader told ESPN Soccernet that he is shocked that in the Premier League, the richest league in the world, it is incredible that no one has learned the lessons of Leeds' downfall.
Taylor also revealed that he expects the Portsmouth players not to refuse to play this weekend if their wages fail to materialise as promised within the next 48 hours.
"There is no talk of the players walking away, refusing to play, not at all, and I wouldn't expect it," Taylor said. "In fact I expect the players to be considerate, understanding of the clubs plight, which, of course, is of enormous concern.
"We have bailed clubs out on numerous occasions by paying players wages for a limited period, but normally with the lower league clubs. We did it once at Leeds, when players also accepted deferred payments while the club sorted out their financial difficulties.
"But I really thought Leeds was the last time I would ever see a Premier League club in this sort of situation, and it is a worrying situation.
Taylor also revealed that the both the PFA and the Football League are carefully monitoring the situation at Fratton Park, and he believes that a vigilant approach is required to ensure clubs stay afloat.
"The Football League has adopted financial monitoring arrangements, we've seen the problems at Notts County with Sol Campbell, but we don't expect to see this kind of occurrence in the Premier League, it sends out a bad image for the game in this country.
"But we have heard from the club that they expect to resolve the issue of the players wages in the next 24 to 48 hours, and the Premier League have put into place financial monitoring and expect its clubs to honour priority payments such as wages to the players and transfer fees to other clubs.
"The club are not in administration, although they have come close, it's been a close shave, and the lads have been told it will be put right, so I would expect the players to be thinking positively
Paul Hart's side have lost all seven of their Premier League games this season and sit rock bottom of the table. The latest revelations about players not being paid could not have come at a worse time for the club, but Hart has talked to the players to reassure them that the money would be paid as soon as possible. Some players, though, felt there were no guarantees.
The club issued a statement reiterating that new owner Sulaiman al Fahim planned re-financing of the club following his recent takeover will go ahead, and boss Hart has also received assurances.
"I understand the funds have been received and the players will be paid tomorrow (Friday)," Hart said. "It's one of those glitches that have appeared because of the slowness of the takeover and refunding package."
Al Fahim took control of Portsmouth in August but there have been constant doubts about the financial stability of the club.
"We had a meeting with the players this morning and assured them this would be sorted out," Hart added. "They turned it into a little bit of fun and have been terrific."