PFA fear unpaid wages just tip of iceberg at Pompey

Mike McGrath

Portsmouth players are finally expected to be paid their wages today, but the Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association still have serious concerns over the long-term stability of the club.

The PFA have been speaking to Pompey officials about the delay in payment of December salaries after the deadlines on New Year's Eve and then Tuesday passed with players still unpaid.

Pompey failed to deposit the funds yesterday as they had promised but executive director Mark Jacob has spoken publicly about the money being authorised to be paid.

"Further to talks we are confident the wages will be paid this week to resolve the short-term position but the long-term position still needs to be resolved," said PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.

"This is a serious situation that involves the Premier League and the PFA as well as the concerns of supporters of the club and the players."

Pompey's financial problems, however, will not end when their players are paid as the Premier League have imposed a transfer embargo on the Fratton Park club.

The player-registration freeze has been imposed until league officials are happy with the club's finances and, although there has been dialogue, Pompey have yet to provide sufficient assurances.

Pompey boss Avram Grant, as a result, is considering recalling David Nugent from his loan spell at Burnley if his options are limited.

Chief executive Peter Storrie has explained the start of Pompey's problems came from the economic downturn leading to Alexandre 'Sacha' Gaydamak not being able to fund the club.

"We very much run a dream going forward in terms of costs of wages and costs of players and the loss of the business," Storrie said. "When Sacha took over he wanted to fund that side of it and did fund a lot of it for a while.

"When the credit crunch hit, Sacha had the situation where he not only couldn't fund anymore but couldn't fund the existing agreements.

"That is where the debt position has come from."

Storrie sympathised with fans, who know little about new owner Ali al-Faraj.

He added: "The situation we have now is that the board is looking after the day-to-day operations but are not involved in the major decisions in terms of finance and the way forward.

"You have an owner and his key advisors, which, apart from his lawyer, none of which sit on the board. It's amusing when the fans say sack the board, because it won't get them anywhere."