Portsmouth High Court date finally set for 10 April

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
A Portsmouth scarf on the railings outside the Royal Courts of Justice

The battle for the future of League One side Portsmouth will finally be heard at the High Court on 10 April.

The club has been in administration for 14 months and is subject to a takeover bid from the Pompey Supporters' Trust.

However that bid is dependent on taking ownership of the club's Fratton Park stadium which is currently controlled by Balram Chainrai's company Portpin.

Iain McInnes committed to saving Portsmouth

Administrators BDO - formerly PKF - are attempting to force the sale of Fratton Park and seek an independent valuation.

Paragraph 71 of the 1986 Insolvency Act allows administrators to sell an asset which has a fixed charge on it if they can persuade a judge such a move is in the best interests of the company's creditors.

"The purpose of the hearing is to ask the Court to give the administrators permission to sell Fratton Park, which is currently subject to a mortgage in favour of Portpin," administrator Trevor Birch told BBC Sport.

"The Court will also, at the same hearing, determine the 'market value' of the property after listening to expert witnesses.

"If the Court agrees with the value that the PST has placed on the property, then a sale of the club to the PST can proceed very quickly.

"It is impossible at this stage to predict what will happen if we lose because there are so many variables."

The PST has offered Chainrai £3m for the ground, but the Hong Kong businessman has so far refused to sell.

Chainrai believes he is owed around £12m by the club and currently holds the stadium as security via a fixed charge.

The Football League has warned that the club, who are said to be around £61m in debt, must exit administration before the end of the season or face expulsion.

The Trust has raised around £2m through shares, with fans investing £1,000 each, while the club has also raised funds through several 'High Net Worth' investors, such as Iain McInnes, who also support the club.

McInnes himself will become chairman of the club, if and when the takeover is completed.

In February the Trust were granted a £1.45m loan from Portsmouth City Council to help fund their proposed purchase of Fratton Park.

Their property partner Stuart Robinson has also recently purchased land surrounding the stadium meaning the area could finally be redeveloped.

Football financier Keith Harris is also interested in buying the club along with a consortium of businessmen, but the PST are BDO's preferred bidders and have Football League approval. If the judge does not rule in the favour of BDO/the PST then Harris and his consortium will return to the League and ask for a change in their stance.

The hearing at the Rolls Buildings in London on Fetter Lane is expected to last two days and will be heard by Mr Justice Peter Smith at 10.30 BST, in Court 31.

Administrators BDO will be represented by Katharine Holland QC from Landmark Chambers with Pinsent Masons their legal representatives. Portpin will be represented by Walker Morris with their QC expected to be Richard Sheldon.

Chainrai is not expected in court but his brother Deepak is likely to represent the family.

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