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Portsmouth could demand arbitration over dispute

ESPNsoccernet can reveal that Portsmouth have taken the unusual step of asking the Premier League for arbitration in order to resolve their financial dispute, unless the body agrees to two demands: the lifting of the transfer embargo by Tuesday at the latest, and the release of £2 million of TV revenue which is currently being withheld.

A strongly-worded letter has been delivered to the Premier League's headquarters requesting a meeting in the next 48 hours in a final attempt to resolve the dispute amicably, otherwise the club are calling for arbitration - a move that would place the case in the hands of a third party.

Although it is an extraordinary state of affairs that Portsmouth should be in direct conflict with their own league over the financial problems, the club have stopped short of threatening to sue.

Pompey's executive director Mark Jacob told ESPNsoccernet: "We are confident that this matter can be dealt with amicably in pursuance of the league's own rules. We are seeking another meeting with the Premier League as soon as possible, no later than Tuesday, whereby funds are released and the embargo lifted, otherwise we are requesting arbitration."

Portsmouth's letter stresses that it was the club itself that requested that part of their £7.5 million TV money (due on January 12) should be directed straight to the three clubs owed transfer instalments: Chelsea, Spurs and Watford.

However, Pompey argue that the league have used just £5 million of that revenue and that the club should receive the rest.

The Premier League, though, have taken a tough stance insisting they need to be totally convinced of the club's future financing and ability to pay additional transfer instalments both at home and abroad before they will release the £2 million, or use it for further future payments.

However, Portsmouth managed to put together a short-term loan last month to pay the December wages, which was the third time this season that the salaries were late.

The loan was secured against TV revenue coming into the club, so Portsmouth argue that their loan is being jeopardised and, with it, the ability to pay January's wage bill which is close to £3 million for all staff, and £1.8 million for the players.

Meanwhile, the stricken Premier League club have moved to have their winding-up order struck out, but the decision has been deferred until Tuesday morning.

The case is still due to be heard in the High Court on February 10 - when Pompey remain in danger of being the first Premier League team to go into administration - but the club had hoped to have it withdrawn and have now been forced to wait another day.


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