PORTSMOUTH were last night told by the Premier League that there is no way it can sanction an emergency payment of next season's broadcast revenue to save the club from going into administration.
The South Coast side look set to become the first top-flight club to go into administration unless they can find new investment or an injection of cash to pay off a £12.1m debt to England's taxman. They have until 4pm on Wednesday to present a statement of affairs, containing a breakdown of their assets and liabilities, after which their winding-up petition will be heard at the High Court on a provisional date of March 1.
It was suggested that the Premier League might offer Pompey their minimum guaranteed broadcast revenue for next season -- the £11m "parachute payment" they would receive if relegated -- in advance, but a spokesman for the League said: "The Premier League has very specific rules regarding what happens if a club suffers an insolvency event. We will not act outside those rules or in a way that undermines the competition."
The League is keen to assist Portsmouth's statement with supporting documents to confirm the future income that is guaranteed, even if they are relegated, but there is little enthusiasm among the other 19 clubs for a plan that would mean the parachute payments are brought forward.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan said: "I don't agree with giving any club more help up front. If it did, the League would be duty-bound to do the same every time a club gets in trouble."
Portsmouth's latest owner, Balram Chainrai, has made it clear that he will sell the club at the earliest opportunity. A statement on their website last night read: "The club is working towards bringing new finance into the business and is in talks with prospective buyers."
©The Times, London