By Anil Bhoyrul
Arabian Business publishes full details of MidEast investors' bid to save troubled English football side
Middle East investors have set out a seven point plan for the takeover of UK football club Portsmouth FC, according to documents published by Arabian Business today.
The documents show full details of the US$20.4m takeover which would leave the club debt free, as well as details of the Dubai Bank escrow account into which funds have already been deposited. The names of the investors behind the bid have been redacted by Arabian Business to protect their identity.
The offer to buy the troubled club was made on 4 September, via chartered accountants Born & Co. The proposal includes buying “the assets of Portsmouth Football Club… This is to include, inter alia, the freehold property and the players contracts”.
The investors have also offered to “pay the unsecured creditors in full settlement of the CVA with creditors… We understand this is one million pounds sterling.”
Additionally, the new investors will “provide share capital in excess of five hundred thousand pounds”, while also accepting “a novation of the compromise agreements with former players… we understand this totals eight million eight hundred thousand pounds and is to be repaid over a four year term.”
The troubled club has seen a number of owners in recent years, beginning with Sulaiman Al Fahim who first took over Portsmouth in 2009 when the team played in the Premier League. However, mounting debts saw the club change hands many times after, including twice being owned by businessman Balram Chainrai.
After being relegated and moving into administration, there have been growing fears that the club could face permanent closure without an immediate buyer. The club is currently playing in League One, the third tier of the UK's football pyramid, and during the most reason close season was forced to offload all of its senior players in order to stay afloat.
Both Chainrai and the club’s supporters trust had been involved in buyout talks, but so far neither were able to raise the required funds.
Excuse the fans if they are wary. The popular conception that the club overspent is not completely true. Some players were paid too much but bought cheaply were sold at huge profits and played for clubs like Real Madrid and AC Milan. Portsmouth supporters, recognized as one of the most fanatic in the UK, want to know where this money went and why the stadium and the ground around it were handed over for loans. Were did all the money go; we do not know. We can not find out. Despite these documents. What is these investorâ€™s intent? Are they a front for others? We have been down that road before. Do these investors understand the culture of the club and the City? Who have they spoken to? The image of oil rich Arabs obviously has appeal, but excuse us if we are wary. We would rather be a community club and win nothing than see Pompey ship wreaked again. That has nothing to do with anti arab feeling, merely recent experience. If they are serious and want to know more, I'll tell them.