Football

Seven days for Portsmouth

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Portsmouth have been granted an extension by the High Court in their quest to remain in business and hope to use the time to secure a fifth owner during a turbulent season.

Registrar Christine Derrett gave Pompey seven days to detail their financial situation in a statement of affairs to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, who have lodged a winding-up petition for the Barclays Premier League's bottom club over unpaid tax.

Nigel Hood, representing Pompey in court, claimed there were two "serious" offers to buy the club, and chief executive Peter Storrie told Sky Sports News: "I had to do a lot of those negotiations through the night for me to even allow the courts to know about it."

He added: "There are an awful lot of clubs in considerably larger debts than we are. Our debt has come down quite substantially. This is a fantastic club, fantastic atmosphere, it has got something unique about it. I think you'd be surprised who might be interested."

After the decision was made by Derrett, Pompey issued a statement welcoming the time granted to produce their statement of affairs, which will be done with Vantis plc. A hearing will then take place before a judge on the first date available after February 19.

HMRC claim Pompey owe them more than £11million in total. A figure of £7.4million of VAT is included in the winding-up petition, which Pompey are disputing.

After detailing payments paid and disputed, Pompey's statement read: "Therefore we contest that there is no payment due."

Despite being pleased with the outcome, Pompey were accused by HMRC of trading while insolvent and Derrett said she feared the company would continue to trade and build up more debts that would not be paid.

Gregory Mitchell QC, representing HMRC, said: "It's quite clear beyond any doubt at all that this company is insolvent. They have failed to provide any evidence at all as to their solvency. There are many debts and they are unpaid."

Registrar Derrett said she had taken into consideration the consequences of a winding-up order, but added: "I'm very concerned about the financial situation of this company. There is a real risk that they are trading while insolvent."

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Portsmouth
Football
Premier League

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