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In deep trouble

The talks between Portsmouth Football Club and the HMRC that were reported on yesterday (in which new Pompey owner Balram Chanrai reportedly offered £1.8million towards the club’s outstanding £7.8million VAT debt) failed, meaning that they are looking at being the first Premier League club to be put into administration. The club are due in the high court today.

The club are expected to ask for an adjournment so they can prepare an appeal against the judgement, and if this is not successful the winding-up petition will be heard, after which they could either be wound up, placed into administration or given leave to appeal. According to The Guardian the club offered to pay the HMRC £3.7million plus future TV money to avoid that, but it was turned down.

Meanwhile manager Avram Grant, after watching his side battle to a 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland last night, appealed for the club not to be wound up, saying that football clubs are more than just businesses.

‘It's not a clear, normal business,’ he said. ‘It's not like an apartment that you buy without feelings. Here there are feelings, of players, fans, and also mine. The court needs to think it belongs to 250,000 people. I think the club needs to stay alive – this is even more important than football.’

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