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Relegation certain as Pompey goes into administration

Portsmouth officially went into administration today with the automatic nine-point penalty virtually condemning them to relegation from the Premier League.

Pompey owner Balram Chainrai took the decision yesterday evening after talks with four interested groups failed to lead to a takeover of the club, which has £70m debts.

The process of going into administration has already begun and was completed in the English High Court today. Pompey will become the first Premier League club to go into administration and the nine-point penalty will leave them on just seven points, 16 behind their nearest rivals.

Chainrai's spokesman Phil Hall said last night: "We have started the process of putting the club into administration and this is due to be completed at the High Court in London first thing tomorrow. The administrator has begun work immediately on the paperwork and this should be completed by tomorrow."

Administrator Andrew Andronikou, of insolvency experts UHY Hacker Young, will now begin the process of cutting costs at the club to try to keep it as a viable entity. A major sell-off of players and the prospect of a long period of rebuilding in the Championship now looms. Hall said talks had not broken down with the four interested groups but the club had not been attractive enough to them in its current financial state.

He added: "Once the club is in a more viable state it may become more attractive to them in terms of a takeover."

Chainrai, who is looking to recover a £17m loan he made to the previous owners, has moved to prevent the club from being wound up in the High Court on Monday over £7.5m owed to HM Revenue and Customs.

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant said he was "very sad" and "very angry" at the situation. Grant said he had been "more or less" told the club would go down that route, and stressed his experience at Pompey had been one of constant frustration.

The Israeli was installed as the club's manager in November, having joined as director of football the previous month. He said: "I feel very sad, very angry, but I want to understand more (about) the situation before I tell you my opinion. Of course, you can imagine. We did a football job here. Every step we couldn't do our job.

"Now I'm very sad for me of course and for everybody."

Some finance experts believe the administrator may have to terminate player contracts now to save cash.