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Thursday, August 9, 2012
Pompey reach agreement with Ben Haim

ESPN staff

Portsmouth have reached an agreement with defender Tal Ben Haim, who has agreed to leave - raising hopes that financially-stricken Pompey can avoid liquidation on Friday.

The Portsmouth administrator, Trevor Birch, had set an August 10 deadline for the club's remaining senior players to leave or reach compromise agreements over their wages.

The agreement reached with Ben Haim - reported to have been on around 36,000 a week at Fratton Park - means only the cases of midfielder Liam Lawrence and forward Kanu remain to be resolved.

In a statement, Birch said: "I am pleased to announce we have reached a compromise agreement with Tal Ben Haim, who will now leave the club.

"We expect to make an announcement on Liam Lawrence's future later and, whilst the situation with Kanu has not yet been resolved, we are cautiously optimistic about our prospects.

"The progress we have made over the past 24 hours means there is now a much better prospect of completing the sale of the club and avoiding liquidation."

He said the breakthrough meant talks with potential new owners Portpin would go on, with the intention being to finalise a takeover within days.

"There is still more to do, and the club's future is not yet guaranteed, but we're in a stronger position and will now take some additional time to try to conclude matters," the statement added.

On Tuesday, Ben Haim said administrators PKF would have "blood on their hands" if Portsmouth shut down on Friday, claiming he was 300,000 short of agreeing a deal to walk away from his contract.

"I signed a four-year contract with Portsmouth in 2009," Ben Haim said in a statement. "Since then, because of the club's failure to manage its finances on no less than two occasions, I have personally lost a figure in excess of 2 million. I currently have approximately one year left on my contract.

"The fact is that we are only about 300,000 apart in negotiations. If they want to liquidate the club for that money while they still charge their huge fees, then all I can say is that the blood is very much on their hands."

But Birch hit back at the comments, saying: "It might sound easy, just 300,000, but it might be the amount that breaks the camel's back, because there are actually big numbers to carry forward, 8 million to 9 million - that is the rescued liability we have been asked to get down to, and that is pretty big.

"But we haven't got down to that amount because we have till to settle with Kanu, Liam Lawrence and of course Ben Haim. To say we have blood on our hands as administrators... well, what do you think we think about that? It's not helpful, put it that way."

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