David Gold: Premier League cannot let Portsmouth go bust
West Ham co-owner David Gold has urged the Premier League to "take responsibility" for Portsmouth's financial crisis and prevent the club from sliding towards extinction.
Portsmouth's future is under severe threat after they were given seven days to produce a statement of affairs to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs at a hearing at the High Court last week. HMRC claims Portsmouth owe in excess of £11 million, while former owner Alexandre Gaydamak claims to be owed £28 million and Sol Campbell is suing for £1.7 million.
A provisional date of March 1 has been set for the hearing that could send Portsmouth into administration, or indeed wind the club up, but Gold is adamant that the Premier League cannot let a club cease to exist on its watch.
"Anything that impacts on the integrity of the Premier League has to be addressed and if a club go bust, all the points are wiped out, giving an advantage to some clubs and a disadvantage to others," Gold told the Mail on Sunday.
"That can't be right. For that reason, you have an obligation to save a football club. We have allowed Portsmouth to get into this mess. The brand is 20 Premier League football clubs. We must take responsibility."
Portsmouth goalkeeper David James has also pleaded for the club to be kept in existence after helping Pompey to record a 4-1 victory over Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon. James feels the club will be saved despite fears over what the immediate future holds.
"My instinct says it will be ,'' said James. "I think it's too important for too many people, for football even, that a top-flight club can go out of existence.
"It's not going to be easy and whoever it is who helps us out we'll thank them now, but it's important we stay in business and important Portsmouth keep flying the flag in the Premier League for Hampshire.''