Pompey owner looks for quick exit

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Balram Chainrai claims that despite taking control of Portsmouth on Thursday, he has no intention of owning the club in the long term.

The Hong Kong-based businessman has technically become Pompey's fourth owner this season after his company, Portpin, took over the 90% shareholding of previous owner Ali Al Faraj by exercising a clause in the agreement relating to a £17million loan made in October that effectively staved off administration.

But the 51-year-old insists he is merely protecting the club's interests by removing Al Faraj after the south coast club's players saw their wages delayed four times this season.

Quoted in the South China Morning Post, Chainrai said: "I have zero interest in buying Portsmouth and it's completely untrue that I am the new owner of the club. As far as I am concerned, I have just confiscated the shares of the previous owners."

The club also face a winding-up order from HMRC over a £7.5million VAT bill, for which a High Court hearing is due next Wednesday - which would also see Chainrai lose out on the repayment of his loan, reportedly secured against Al Faraj's 90% shareholding, Fratton Park stadium and future TV revenue.

He added: "It's nothing to do with controlling the club. I don't know anything about running a football club. I just love the game and that's why I've taken this action. We have exercised our right to take control of the shares, and to remove the previous owners.

"It's all about protecting the club's interests. It's about finding someone who has the club's best interests at heart."

Mark Jacob, the British lawyer appointed to the Portsmouth board by Al Faraj, is contesting whether Portpin's takeover can go through - claiming that neither party has complied with the loan agreement.

Chainrai, though, is focused on eventually finding a suitable investor for the club and is confident of doing so.

"Believe me, someone will come in and buy this club," he added.

"This is Premier League football we are talking about. We are eagerly looking for an investor to come in and take over.

"I don't have a time frame to find a prospective buyer. I would like to have one here today if I could, but we'll just have to wait."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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