Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Portsmouth takeover set for court

Portsmouth’s latest takeover is heading towards a legal dispute at the same time as the new owner attempts to buy time by applying to have next week's winding-up hearing postponed.

Hong Kong-based businessman Balram Chainrai has become Portsmouth's fourth owner this season and the financially-stricken club could have a fifth before the summer.

Chainrai has taken the 90% shareholding from previous owner Ali Al Faraj after exercising a clause in the agreement relating to a £17million loan made by his company Portpin to the club.

Mark Jacob, the British lawyer appointed to the board by Al Faraj, is however contesting whether the takeover can go through, claiming that neither party has complied with the loan agreement.

Chainrai's aim is merely to stabilise the club before selling it on to new owners in order to recoup his loan, and the first step is to try to put off next week's High Court hearing brought by HM Customs and Revenue relating to a £7.5million VAT bill.

Portsmouth have received a boost with the news that goalkeeper David James is set to waive his right to a new contract in a bid to help the financially-stricken club survive. Under the terms of his contract, James is automatically entitled to a one-year extension if he plays 25 games.

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