(WFI) Portsmouth FC breathed a sigh of relief today after the club survived a
High Court challenge from the taxman that could have ended with their
extinction. Instead, the English Championship club begin the new season on
Saturday with a game against Coventry.

HM Revenue and Customs failed to win an order blocking a proposed Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) assembled by the club’s administrators to take the south coast club out of administration.

The High Court’s Mr Justice Mann ruled in favour of the administrators, dismissing the application of HMRC which later said it would not appeal.

The CVA will give administrators time to resolve the club’s debt crisis and recruit new owners; negotiations are already underway.

Last season, Pompey were handed a nine point deduction under Premier League rules after becoming the first EPL club to go into administration. They were subsequently relegated to the Championship with estimated debts of more than £100 million.

During this week’s High Court hearing, HMRC argued that the CVA was “seriously flawed” as it gave preference to football creditors, allowing them to claim up to 100% of monies owed them, while
other creditors stood to get far less.

HMRC also said it was owed £37m – £13m more than the £24m value put on its claim.

Pompey chief executive David Lampitt today welcomed the High Court’s ruling.

In a statement, he said: “We’re delighted and relieved at the outcome announced today in the High Court.

“We will wait to see the detailed findings. However, it’s obviously a massive step forward in the process towards getting this great club back on its feet.”

He added: “I would like to give my personal thanks to all those who have supported us through this difficult period, in particular our fans, commercial partners and Portsmouth City Council.

“The result is a huge relief to the staff here whose loyalty has been unswerving and whose hard work has held the club together.“

Balram Chainrai, one of the club’s four different owners last season, is reportedly in negotiations with administrators to buy the club back.

By INSIDER editor

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