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Apr 20, 2010

Portsmouth accounts reveal £119m debt

Soccernet can reveal that Portsmouth's actual level of debt is far worse than reported, with £119 million owed to various creditors - including astonishing amounts to agents.

Portsmouth administrator Andrew Andronikou has shown Soccernet the official and highly contentious figures, after working through the night on a full financial report to be made public later on Tuesday.

The relegated club owe £105 million to numerous creditors, secured and unsecured, plus there is an outstanding £14 million due on three transfers - those of Sulley Muntari, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe - to a series of money lenders.

Of the £105 million debt, £9 million is owed to 15 agents. In one deal alone, an agent is owed £2.3 million.

The breakdown includes: £90 million owed to unsecured creditors - of which £38 million is due to three previous owners in the form of loans, £5 million to trade creditors, £9 million to agents. There is also £1 million owed on hire purchase. A sum of £14 million which is "off the balance sheet" because it relates to players.

There is also £14 million owed to secured creditors, which is the last owner, Balram Chainrai, in the form of loans.

Soccernet spoke to Andronikou after his all night vigil finalising the figures for the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to take the club out of administration. The creditors, however, would still have to accept any offer for their debt from a prospective buyer. Without 75% of creditors agreeing to any proposed deal there can be no CVA.

It is almost certain that they taxman, who is owed a sizeable amount, would attempt to block any offer which would only leave them with a fraction of what they are owed.

"I do not believe that the figures will come as a surprise to anyone who has been interested in buying the club, when they do due diligence it is there for them to see," Andronikou told Soccernet. "So, for that reason, it is not unexpected, although, of course, the figures are vastly different from what has been reported.

"The size of the debt involved won't scare off potential buyers, far from it. We now have a business plan in place that is a projected target over the next three to five years to pay back the creditors, albeit with Xp in the pound. The creditors will get a percentage of their debts back over a number of years, rather than all in one go.

"You have also got to remember that £40 million of the debt involves the old shareholders, the previous owners. The shareholders are owed that amount of money because they put loans into the club, not their own money, it was all built on their loans."

Andronikou also revealed to the extent of the money owed to agents, with super-agent Pini Zahavi one of the biggest creditors according to the accounts.

"There are agents and scouts owed over £9 million," Andronikou confirmed. "There are agents such as Pini Zahavi, who is owed £2 million, but there is one agent who is owed £2.3 million for just one deal alone, the transfer of [Lassana] Diarra, it is staggering.

"There must be something like 15 agents owed money, which illustrates how the club were buying and selling so many big name players."

An exhausted Andronikou added: "It has been a very tiring job, working through the night, but it needed to be done."

Pompey need to move out of administration to have any chance of winning an appeal to play in the Europa League next season, and also to finalise takeover talks.

"We are no nearer to a buyer than we have been for the past two months." Andronikou said. "Will one be in place for the Cup final? Who knows? Rob Lloyd seems keen to make a formal offer, but he has yet to do so, and there is one major sporting franchise group who approached me again the day after we won the semi-final. There are a few fishing around."

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