portsmouth financial crisis

Portsmouth transfer embargo could be lifted on Wednesday

January 12, 2010
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

ESPN Soccernet can reveal the Premier League board will make a decision about whether to lift the Portsmouth transfer embargo on Wednesday.

Avram Grant
GettyImagesBoss Avram Grant can now strengthen

Lens make Kaboul bid

The Premier League will also deliberate on whether to divert Pompey's £7.5 million TV purse, due on January 12, direct to three English clubs.

Portsmouth's delegation met the Premier League on Tuesday, but it was inconclusive as the league has requested more information. A second meeting will now take place on Wednesday before the board makes a decision.

Pompey must assure the Premier League that all payments to the three English clubs as well as the three European clubs are paid up before they will consider lifting the transfer embargo, and even then they are seeking future financial guarantees.

Pompey executive director Mark Jacobs, fighting the short-term cash-flow crisis with fierce determination, wants to assure fans that they are working with the Premier League and not against them.

Following the first round of talks with the Premier League, Jacobs told ESPN Soccernet on Tuesday: "The Premier League are very helpful, very cooperative, and, despite various media reports, we are working together with the Premier League to get it all resolved.

"I would also like to emphasise that we are dealing with debts that we have inherited, and I cannot stress this enough. We had a frank meeting with the Premier League today and we will be back there tomorrow."

A Premier League spokesman added: "Portsmouth have provided the Premier League board with new information regarding their outstanding debt to other football clubs. The Premier League board will now consider this new information and make a decision in due course."

Pompey were due £7.5 million in TV revenue from the Premier League, but that is being withheld pending the final talks on Wednesday.

It now looks likely that the Premier league will bypass Pompey and direct the TV money straight to Spurs and Chelsea, who are owed money on transfer deals. Watford's instalment is not due until the end of the month, according to Jacobs.

The Premier League will want to see evidence of the transfer monies owed to the three foreign clubs, though, before the transfer embargo can be lifted, and much depends on the outcome of the meeting as to the future of Younes Kaboul, with Lens and Sunderland in the hunt.

So far, Pompey have rejected a 10 million euro bid from Lens as well as Sunderland's offers of either £9 million or £7 million plus Anton Ferdinand.

However, if either club emerges with a bigger bid or another side comes close to Pompey's valuation of £14 million, a deal will be struck to resolve the club's immediate financial problems, including paying this month's wage bill.

Portsmouth still owe Tottenham money for Kaboul, while Chelsea are due further payment for Glen Johnson after his August 2007 move. Udinese are still owed money for Sulley Muntari, Rennes are owed money for John Utaka and Lens have yet to receive full payment for both Nadir Belhadj and Aruna Dindane.

The total outstanding is £10 million, but the sale of Kaboul would enable Pompey to start the process of rebuilding instead of three months of staving off administration.