Today, Pompey fans’ research reveals that Ali Al Faraj, Pompey’s well-known invisible owner, does exist. However, the same research also suggests that Ali Al Faraj played no part in the running of Portsmouth Football Club despite being the designated ‘Fit and Proper’ owner between October 2009 and February 2010. Instead the club was in the control of shadow directors who took it into administration in February 2010. Some of those shadow directors are seeking to regain control of the club for the FOURTH time.
Blaram Chainrai and Leivi Kushnir’s company Portpin are one of the two bidders being considered by administrators PKF and the Football League this week. The same people appear to have had control of the club now on three occasions – Between October 2009 and February 2010, between October 2010 and June 2011 and between November 2011 and February 2012 – two of which ended in administration. The other bidder is the Pompey Supporters Trust. The question in front of the Football League now is, ‘Are these people really Fit and Proper owners of a Football League Club?’
For the full evidence of how Pompey was run by shadow directors in October 2009 to February 2010 see here: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18346
More from Micha Hall on the ‘Al Faraj’ period of ownership at PFC. Detailing the financial manoeuvres inside the club from October 2009 to February 2010, by a group of shadow directors who clearly came to grief over their attempt to recoup losses made in business dealings with Arcady Gaydamak in Israel. A clear pattern of allied creditors falling out is emerging with Pompey the bone of their contention. See: http://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/portsmouth/fb_news.php?storyid=18360
Portpin are becoming uncomfortable with the revelations. They have issued a statement via Tavistock, their PR agency, “Our decision not to comment on Mr Hall’s blogs to date should in no way be taken as an acknowledgement of these unfounded, unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations.” However, Portpin have been given full knowledge of the content of both these blogs, and a series of questions preceding them, before publication with the chance to alter any factual inaccuracies. They have chosen to only give a ‘no comment’ response until this last piece was sent. Given the nature of the revelations, one has to wonder at their reticence.
Mr Hall is confident enough of his sources to go into print with this description of events at PFC during the Al Faraj ownership. Portpin’s actions seem weak by comparison.
That the Football League now have to decide if Portpin’s directors are proper persons to own and control a football club gives immediate importance to the events described. In the light of pressure from the DCMS Football Governance enquiry and from the Trust movement, Supporters Direct and right thinking football fans everywhere, the Football League needs must think very carefully about the fall-out from the wrong decision in this case.
This could prove to be a key moment in the future shape of English Football. For the choice is between Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust. A choice between those that want to milk the game and those that want to underwrite its future. The Football League must be very sure they can justify their decision legally, morally and ethically.
The Pompey Supporters’ Trust is still taking pledges to help the bid. Details can be found here
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