Portsmouth can plan for future

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Football News

Portsmouth could be back in the hands of Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai by the end of this month after winning a court case that ensures their survival.

A High Court judge on Thursday dismissed a claim by HM Revenue & Customs that it was unfair for 'football creditors' such as players and other clubs to have preferential treatment when it came to Portsmouth's debts being paid. Mr Justice Mann also said the sale of the club to Chainrai could now go ahead. It was he who initially placed them in administration after seizing control of the club in January in order to recoup a loan.

Chainrai's representative Ashok Patel said after the case: "We are very pleased with the decision because we are the only purchaser the judge mentioned in his judgment."

He added: "The agreement is being worked on and we hope to finalise the agreement in the next few days.

"Mr Chainrai was very happy because it opens the way for the only realistic solution, which is for his company to purchase the club and stabilise the club and to continue in the Championship."

HMRC said there would be no appeal against the ruling - their barrister Gregory Mitchell QC had argued Portsmouth's company voluntary arrangement (CVA) was "unfair and seriously flawed" as it gave preference to football creditors, including players, who were able to claim up to 100% of money owed them, while other creditors including the taxman would receive 20%.

HMRC also lost a claim regarding £13million tax it said was owed on image rights.

Portsmouth chief executive David Lampitt said: "It's obviously a massive step forward in the process towards getting this great club back on its feet."

Portsmouth had claimed if the judge had blocked Chainrai's attempt to purchase the club, they would also certainly have been relegated from the Championship and gone into liquidation.

Peter Kubik, one of Portsmouth's administrators, confirmed the sale to Chainrai should be done by the end of August and he was the only contender. "I would like to think we will have sold the club by the end of the month," he told Sky Sports News. "He [Chainrai] is the only man leading the way at the moment."

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

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