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Thursday, August 16, 2012
Pompey cleared to start season

ESPN staff

Portsmouth have been told they can start the season despite being in administration, and the club's administrators have allowed manager Michael Appleton to begin signing players on one-month deals.

Pompey face the threat of liquidation after Balram Chainrai's Portpin company withdrew their offer to buy on Wednesday. Only the Portsmouth Supporters' Trust remains in the frame to buy the League One club.

But the Football League has cleared Portsmouth to begin the season because the trust and the administrators are in talks. A ten-point penalty will only be imposed when the club exits administration, meaning Portsmouth start the campaign on zero points.

A League spokesman said: "Given the ongoing dialogue between the administrator and the supporters' trust, the board has given its consent to Portsmouth beginning the new season in administration.

"The club will start on zero points, with the conditions of membership announced at the board's previous meeting - including a ten-point deduction - not coming into effect unless and until the club exits administration."

Administrator Trevor Birch has told Appleton he will be able to sign players on short deals after the financially-stricken club had to field what was effectively a youth team against Plymouth in the Capital One Cup.

Birch told The News: "We can sign players and are attempting to sign them between now and Saturday - but only on a monthly contract.

"That means there is no liability for the club, and it can afford to employ them on such terms during administration. We are trying to get as many as we can - perhaps eight, nine or ten players.

"For the players, there is no risk. If the club is liquidated they will be able to move to another club, even if it is outside the transfer window."

He said he was pleased that the points deduction had been delayed, saying: "I'm also encouraged by the League's decision to postpone any possible deduction until it receives an application for membership by the trust.

"At that stage, the application will be accompanied by a request for a review of the points deduction.''

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