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Dec 3, 2009

"Despair" as Portsmouth players not paid again

A Portsmouth insider has told ESPN Soccernet that the players have been promised to be paid only a "portion" of their November pay cheques, and that the full balance will be paid next week. This has since been confirmed in an official club statement.

It is the second time this season that Fratton Park staff have not been paid in full. During the brief and ill-fated ownership of Sulaiman Al Fahim the Pompey players were forced to wait for their wages for September and the struggling club have now failed to pay their staff for the month of November.

Saudi Arabian businessman Ali Al Faraj took control of the Premier League's bottom club from Al Fahim in late October, but it appears the same problems persist.

ESPN Soccernet have also been told that that the transfer embargo placed on the club has not been lifted, and that the new owners are fighting to find the money to pay a whole series of pressing creditors, including two Premier League clubs, outstanding VAT, Inland Revenue and now staff wages are late.

The insider said: "We're all in a state of despair here. The players seem okay about it, but they're not very happy as you would expect.

"They've been told they will get a portion of it this weekend and then the rest next week, and as long as they will be paid, eventually, they are putting up with it. But it makes everyone at the club despair, because we all thought the finances were being sorted."

ESPN Soccernet tracked down chief executive Peter Storrie and put the latest dire financial situation to him.

Storrie said: "As you know I am no longer looking after the financial situation but from what I have been told the owners are continuing the process of trying to re-source the club with money and resolve the financial issues.

"Precisely what those financial issues are, they are handling them, but I have been informed that they are doing all they can to resolve the issues.

"As for the transfer embargo, we all thought it would lifted by now, that the money owed to the clubs would have been paid, but we really do need to get that right before Christmas so we can buy players in the January transfer window."

Avram Grant took over as manager on the understanding that there would be funds available for two or three player purchases in January.

Grant will be shocked to discover the latest financial intrigue at Fratton Park which threatens to undermine his recruitment plan for players in January.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has voiced his concern at the news that Portsmouth have not paid their squad for the second time this season. Taylor told Sky Sports News: "You can understand much better problems in the Football League and lower down. Chester City, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Watford - players have shown a great deal of solidarity and sympathy and understanding and deferred wages.

"But if that is happening in the Premier League I'm sure it is not good for the image of the game and if it is the case it is not going to be highly thought of at the headquarters of the Premier League either.

"There can't be any good reason in the Premier League with the money they enjoy from television income alone, never mind sponsorship. That is what life is about in football, paying wages of the players. I thought this had been solved with the change of ownership at the club a few weeks ago. We had this earlier in the season.''

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