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Portsmouth set to go into administration

Portsmouth will become the first English Premier League club to go into financial administration on Friday, after they missed a deadline for a potential takeover.

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Andrew Andronikou of accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young told The Associated Press on Thursday that "we made a conscious decision to put it into administration tomorrow morning."

Four undisclosed buyers failed to prove they had the funds to buy the club by a Thursday afternoon deadline and Andronikou, who will act as the administrator, will issue a detailed statement on Friday outlining how the club will be restructured and made attractive for a potential buyer.

Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie told Soccernet: "We are all waiting to hear what happens next. The staff face savage cuts. There are three parties, though, interested in taking over the club, so I don't anticipate it will be in the hands of the administrator for long.

"The Revenue are targeting the football creditors' rules. Football creditors take preference, and the Revenue believe they should. My big beef is that they have made an example of Portsmouth."

A statement on the Pompey website read: ''Businessman Balram Chainrai, the owner of Portsmouth Football Club, has today served notice that the club will go into administration unless new owners can be found by Friday (February 26).

''Mr Chainrai and fellow investors from his Portpin investment vehicle are in London to continue talks with representatives of four different groups interested in buying the club, but have had to reluctantly accept that it is now unlikely a deal can be done before a winding-up hearing, due to be heard in the High Court on Monday.''

Their spokesman, Phil Hall, said: "There is now only a short window of opportunity for buyers to come in with a credible offer. We have to be realistic and having the club wound up is not an option as far as we are concerned.

"They are the victims of circumstance, having injected funds in the form of a short-term loan to the Al Faraj Group, who subsequently invested the money in the club. The partners have put £17 million of their own money into the club and have a responsibility to ensure Portsmouth Football Club survives.

"Administration would mean the club re-emerging as a healthy financial entity. The club would then become an attractive proposition for a potential buyer who could invest new funds in rebuilding the club's future.

"We would like to ask the fans, the staff and management of Portsmouth Football Club for their support and patience should this step be taken, as they believe it is the only route left open to them. The serving of this notice means the winding-up order is automatically suspended. It means the club is safe, it can fulfil its fixtures and as far as is possible it is business as usual.

"Mr Chainrai hopes the supporters will get fully behind the team as usual for their Premier League match at Burnley on Saturday and the following weekend's FA Cup quarter-final at home to Birmingham. Mr Chainrai has agreed to continue funding the club going forward until its long-term future is decided. He will also pay for the administration process out of his own pocket."

Earlier, Portsmouth manager Avram Grant said he was "very sad' and "very angry'' at the situation.

The accompanying nine-point deduction will mean certain relegation for the club and Grant said he had been "more or less'' told the club would go into administration, and stressed his experience at the club had been one of constant frustration.

The Israeli was installed as the club's manager in November, having joined as director of football the previous month.

He told Sky Sports News:"I feel very sad, very angry, but I want to understand more (about) the situation before I tell you my opinion. Of course [the situation is upsetting], you can imagine. We did a football job here. Every step we couldn't do our job. Now I'm very sad for me of course and for everybody.''

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