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By ESPN Staff

Pompey remain confident despite High Court blow

Portsmouth remain confident that they can have the winding up petition brought against them by HM Revenue and Customs struck out on appeal despite losing today's initial ruling.

• Pompey suffer High Court blow

High Court Judge Mr Justice Newey ruled against the club after they argued that the VAT portion of its massive tax bill was over-valued by £7.5 million. But after describing his deliberations as "difficult'', Mr Justice Newey granted the club the right of appeal.

There is a seven-day window for Pompey to lodge their appeal and should the expected appeal be successful then today's ruling would be reversed and the HMRC's decision struck out before the petition reaches a final hearing.

In a statement released in conjunction with Portsmouth's legal representatives, Neumans LLP, the club said: "We would like to once again thank supporters for their continued support and patience.

"The owner, the board and associates would like to assure fans that they are working hard towards a positive solution and are confident that this matter will be resolved in our favour.''

A spokesperson for the Judicial Communications Office had earlier announced the ruling with the following statement: "At the High Court today Mr Justice Newey dismissed an application from Portsmouth City (sic) Football Club Limited for a winding up petition to be struck out. A further hearing to consider HMRC's winding up petition will take place in due course.''

That hearing is now expected on February 10, pending appeal, and the outcome could send Portsmouth a step closer to being the first Premier League club to drop into administration.

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