Premier League happy with Pompey owner

September 23, 2008

The Premier League have dismissed speculation over the ownership of FA Cup holders Portsmouth after new claims surfaced.

Reports in Israel appeared to suggest Fratton Park supremo Alexandre Gaydamak was really only managing the club for his controversial father, Arkadi.

A list of Gaydamak family assets published in the Israeli press cites Portsmouth as belonging to Arkadi, who when the club was sold in January 2006 by Milan Mandaric had an international arrest warrant outstanding against him.

It had been issued by French magistrates, who wanted to question the 56-year-old owner of Israeli champions Beitar Jerusalem about alleged illicit arms trading to Angola during the 1990s.

In light of reports the Premier League, whose rules contain a ''fit and proper persons'' test for club owners who must submit an annual declaration to that effect, contacted Portsmouth again for assurances the situation had not changed since Alexandre Gaydamak took control.

And they have been satisfied with the information they received.

A Premier League statement read: ''In response to recent press speculation regarding the ownership of Portsmouth Football Club, the Premier League can confirm we have re-examined the current position, found there to be no variance with information already on record and therefore are able to reconfirm that Alexandre Gaydamak is the ultimate beneficial owner of Portsmouth Football Club.''

Portsmouth were always adamant there was no dispute over the Franco-Russian property tycoon's ''100%'' ownership of the club and said they were surprised the Premier League had even decided to seek further clarification of the matter.

''Alexandre Gaydamak is the 100% owner of the club and his father has never had any dealings with it,'' said a club spokesman, who pointed out Arkadi's representatives have confirmed that while the Israeli newspaper's published list of the Gaydamak assets are accurate, it is a fact some of them are owned by other members of the family.

''There is no connection between Arkadi and Portsmouth Football Club, which his son owns.''

Despite speculation of a proposed sale at Fratton Park, Alexandre Gaydamak has ambitious plans for a new stadium and new training ground, having already spent £60million on players over the last two years.