Monday 19 March 2018

Mystery over Pompey's £1m Spurs debt solved

Nick Szczepanik

THE mystery of why Portsmouth owe Tottenham Hotspur £1m for a player who has never been on the books of Spurs was solved yesterday, while the south coast club also announced that they will fight a decision by the FA and Premier League to deny them a place in Europe next season.

Portsmouth arranged to sell Asmir Begovic to Spurs in January in a joint deal with Younes Kaboul and asked for a certain sum "up front" in order to help their acute shortage of cash.

They agreed to repay £1m of the money advanced if the transfer of Begovic did not proceed. But when the goalkeeper chose to join Stoke City instead, Portsmouth tried to jack up the price to Stoke in order to cover their liability to Spurs.

"We agreed a price of £3m, but they wanted to increase it to £4m," Peter Coates, the Stoke chairman, said. "We said we weren't prepared to do anything other than pay the price they were (initially) asking."

Tottenham clarified their part of the bargain in a statement on their official website. "The transfer of Younes Kaboul (for £5m) was completed and Portsmouth pressed for an immediate payment," it read. "We were assured that the transfer of Begovic would be completed.

"In order to assist Portsmouth with their financial difficulties we paid Portsmouth an agreed sum of money, whilst at the same time concluding an agreement that, should Begovic be sold or loaned to any club other than ourselves, we would be repaid the sum of £1m."

Meanwhile, Pompey have not given up on the chance of playing in next season's Europa League despite the FA and Premier League saying that they "shall not consider any late application for granting of a Uefa Club Licence for 2010-11".

Portsmouth would have qualified to play in Europe after reaching the FA Cup final against Chelsea, who will be in the Champions League. However, they had missed the FA's March 1 deadline for applications because, being in administration, they were unable to submit accounts -- a condition of getting the licence.

However, Andrew Andronikou, the administrator, plans to fight on.

"I would like to think that, while we are still a member of the Premier League, we would still have their support. Instead they seem to be championing the cause of Aston Villa. But we're not going away." (© The Times, London)

Irish Independent

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