Portsmouth City Council approve Supporters' Trust loan
Portsmouth City Council has agreed to loan the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) £1.45m so it can put together a deal to buy the club from Balram Chainrai.
The PST has offered Chainrai £2.75m for the club, including Fratton Park, but need a temporary bridging loan to help make up its offer for Pompey.
The Trust says it has raised £3m in pledges, with £1m on deposit already.
The loan comes with requirements such as the Trust obtaining the remaining £11.7m in parachute payments.
Conditions of PST council loan
- That the club owned and operated by the trust is the same club that was relegated and has membership of the relevant football league
- That the club and its assets are bought for £7.68m, which includes provision for the full and final settlement of the football creditors
- That the club owned and operated by the trust obtains all rights to the £11.7m of parachute payments
- That the trust obtains a legal charge over Fratton Park
- That no other legal charges are made against the income or assets of the club, beyond those set out in the trust's business plan, without the prior consent of the council
- That the council receives an assignment of parachute payments to repay the loan or that an investor guarantee is provided by the trust for the full £1.45m
- That a subscription agreement for the trust's Fan Share Scheme, High Net Worth Investors and Associate Director Scheme is in place, which has been approved by the city solicitor and does not allow money to be taken out of the club until the council has been repaid
- That proof of funds from the three schemes has been demonstrated
- That a suitably skilled and experienced chief executive is appointed by the trust
Other conditions include the club keeping their Football League membership, the Trust obtaining Fratton Park and the council receiving part of the £11.7m parachute payment as repayment for the loan.
At Thursday's meeting the PST chairman Ashley Brown, board member Mark Trapani and Julian Wadsworth from the Respect programme all gave presentations to the council supporting the bid.
The decision hinged on several factors but the impact on the local economy was a crucial factor with Conservative Councillor Donna Jones estimating the economic impact of the club is more than £300m.
"This has been a difficult decision, but if the council does not offer PST a loan then it is likely Portsmouth Football Club will not survive," said leader of the council Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
"This is a loan, not a gift or a blank cheque. The council will borrow the money and PST will have 13 months to repay us in full, with interest. No services will be affected as the money will not come directly from the current council budget.
"The financial impact of the football club on the city is huge. Livelihoods depend on the club surviving and thriving. The community projects the football club runs are hugely important to encouraging young people and supporting their potential and helping them through difficult times."
The club are currently in administration but were boosted on Thursday by the news that defender Tal Ben Haim had agreed a compromise agreement to leave the club.
Ben Haim had been on wages of £36,000 a week and the club now has just one senior player left on its books - midfielder Liam Lawrence.
Lawrence is also expected to leave the club meaning Chainrai can start the process of bringing Portsmouth out of administration.
“I think the PST bid will continue and get stronger”
But Birch says if Chainrai's offer for the club falls through then the PST is in pole position to take the club on.
Creditors of Pompey have already accepted his offer of two pence in the pound, but the PST has matched that offer and could do a retrospective deal with Chainrai.
"I wouldn't say the Trust are out of it," Birch told BBC Radio Solent.
"If Portpin did not complete, the Trust would be the fall back position. They are still in the game, no doubt if Portpin buy the club then negotiations will continue as the PST have put together a very credible deal.
"It would be a shame for that dissolve, I think the PST bid will continue and get stronger."
If the PST takes control of Pompey, local millionaire businessman Iain McInnes would become the new chairman of the club.