Portsmouth out of administration and deducted 10 points

Ashley Brown

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PST chairman joy as Pompey exit administration

Portsmouth's 10-point deduction will be imposed this season, after coming out of administration on Friday.

The club, now owned by the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) had been in administration since 17 February 2012 and were close to being liquidated.

But an out-of-court settlement between the former owners and administrators for ownership of Fratton Park allowed a takeover to be completed.

They had already been relegated from League One.

It was speculated Portsmouth's points deduction would be carried into next season but the Football League announced on Saturday the punishment would come into effect straight away.

As well as the 10-point deduction the league have also imposed a number of conditions on the club such as restrictions on playing budgets, future borrowing and loan repayments for the next five seasons.

"I would like to welcome the Pompey Supporters' Trust to the Football League and pay tribute to their efforts to save their club," said Football League chairman Greg Clarke.

"They have galvanised the Club's fans and the City of Portsmouth behind their cause and ensured that it continues to have a professional football club.

"However, the hard work is only just beginning and we will continue working with the new owners to help them establish a sustainable future for Portsmouth Football Club, so that it can put its long running financial troubles behind it for good.

"This has been an extremely challenging situation for the Football League, given the level of debt, the length of the administration and the issues surrounding the ownership of Fratton Park. I take my hat off to everyone involved, as it has taken significant amounts of hard work, clear thinking and resolve to achieve this outcome.

"Finally, I would like to pay tribute to Portsmouth supporters for giving their financial backing to the Trust's rescue plan and for turning out in force throughout the administration as it has kept the club in business. Hopefully, this marks the start of a better future."

In the time that Pompey have been in administration, every senior player has left the club.

For the club to exit administration, settlements had to be reached with secured creditors as well as former owners Portpin.

Potential buyers included former owner Sulaiman Al Fahim, disgraced former Watford owner Laurence Bassini and Keith Harris, former head of failed investment bank Seymour Pearce.

But, as prospective owners came and went, the bid from the supporter-led consortium remained throughout.

Backed by several wealthy investors, including local businessman Iain McInnes, ordinary fans pledged £1,000 each to be part of the Trust.

Together, they raised nearly £3m, which was added to by a £1.45m bridging loan, as well as investment from their property partner Stuart Robinson.

The Trust has now taken control of the club, along with Fratton Park and the land surrounding the ground.

"What a momentous day!" said Ashley Brown, the PST chairman. "Once again Pompey fans have shown why they are some of the best in the land. We now have a club owned by people who truly love it, its fans. That's how football is supposed to be."

Trevor Birch, joint administrator of Portsmouth Football Club (2010) Ltd and partner at BDO LLP, said: "We have cleared the final hurdle: all of the paperwork has now been signed and the sale concluded.

"It has taken more than 14 months of hard work from all concerned to get here and there were many times over that period when I didn't think we would make it; but we have, and Portsmouth Football Club can once again look forward to the future with optimism.

"The PST has shown what can be achieved when fans unite together for the good of their community. The club has been through considerable turmoil over the last few years, and I hope it can now enjoy a period of stability and the chance to build solid foundations for a sustainable future based on hard work and honest endeavour."

McInnes, chairman of Portsmouth Community Football Club, said: "It has been a very difficult journey to get to this point but in the end we have achieved the right result. Now is the time for Pompey fans to get behind the club and we are looking forward to celebrating becoming a community club at Fratton Park this Saturday afternoon."

Portsmouth, two points off the bottom of League One and eight points adrift of safety with only two games left prior to their 10-point deduction, will play in League Two next season.

They face Sheffield United on Saturday and will announce a new management team on Monday.