Portsmouth's administrator, Andrew Andronikou, has revealed to Soccernet that the club must have their nine-point penalty deducted by March 27 or face an extra penalty from the Football League if they are relegated at the end of the season.
Andronikou wants to contest the Premier League's nine-point deduction as the statutory punishment for going into administration to keep the competitiveness of the competition alive, but has now been told that he risks a further ten-point deduction from the Football League.
Andronikou told Soccernet in an exclusive interview: "I am caught between a rock and a hard place. The players want to fight on and believe they can fight until the end, and if the nine points are docked then there is the danger they will cave in for the final, most important part of the season with so much at stake at the top and the bottom of the league.
"But there is a deadline of March 27, by which, if the nine points are not docked, and Portsmouth are relegated, as they surely will be, then the Football League will, on that date, automatically dock another ten points as the club will still be in administration.
"My plan is to make a personal presentation to the Premier League not to dock the nine points but, then again, it might be better to take the medicine, otherwise the club will be penalised anyway by the ten-point deduction from the Football League.
"The only hope is that we come out of administration as soon as possible and a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) is accepted. If this club is hit with a ten-point deduction from the Football League, it will be a disaster.
"When I explained this predicament to the players, Avram Grant looked at me - he knew there was a chance it would demotivate the players - but I have to tell them the facts."
The chances of the Premier League listening to a plan not to dock the nine points is remote, as there is little appetite among member clubs to alter existing legislation or indeed to waiver it for Pompey, but a penalty from Football League would raise the chances of the club freefalling to League One next season.
Portsmouth will return to the High Court on Tuesday where their move into administration will be officially accepted by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs.
On Monday, a High Court hearing ruled in Sol Campbell's favour over his claim that Portsmouth owed him £1.67 million, although the payment of the money has been deferred until the club are out of administration.
Campbell's barrister Andrew Onslow QC said: ''Mr Campbell accepts that he will not be paid the cash until such time as either the club is removed from administration or the administrator agrees to the debt being actioned by Mr Campbell and ourselves.''