Tag: Portsmouth

Who Values Pompey?

The battle for the soul of football took one step in the right direction yesterday. The nomination of Pompey Supporters Trust as the preferred bidder for the club is a stunning volte-face in the negotiations to bring the club out of administration. It appears to have been done in the teeth of a vigorous campaign by three-time previous owner Portpin to gain control of the club for a fourth time. Portpin’s directors, Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir have been involved in the causes behind both of Pompey’s administrations in the last three years. They are seeking a fourth term of ownership in order to protect their financial involvement in the club. The Supporters Trust have put together a community bid based on community shares and the involvement of local businessmen and wealthy Pompey fans. In the biggest fan community-based bid in the history of the Trust movement, the Trust have matched Portpin in every respect except one, the valuation of Fratton Park as an asset of the club. Despite the preferred bidder status conferred on the Trust by the administrators, Portpin do not appear to be ready to concede gracefully. But then, there has been nothing graceful about their campaign preceding this announcement either. There really could be no more diametrically opposed opponents in the battle for ownership. Value, values and valuation have truly been the weapons of choice....

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Pompey Fans Reveal the Shadows behind the ‘Invisible’ Owner: Update

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 UPDATE 10/10/12 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,...

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What Constitutes a ‘Director’? Part 2: The Pompey Angle

The Football League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test Rule Book must be looking a bit battered by now, what with the role of those called Chairman and those not called Directors being called into question. Yesterday Peter Ridsdale, despite being chairman in name, is claimed not to be one with any influence. The niceties of this position, keenly highlighted by news of his disqualification from directorship in court, have been discussed in detail by Ian King. The reverse is more often the truth, with clubs being somewhat more covert about who is and is not the powerhouse in their affairs. Undeclared owners (a la Leeds until recently) and faceless corporations (Coventry), BVI registered companies (many and legion) and layers of holding companies obfuscate and confuse the League’s rules in their complexity. When Southampton went into administration in 2009 long and febrile were the debates as to whether it was really the club or their parent company, Southampton Leisure Holdings plc, that was actually insolvent. There are those who still feel the 10 point deduction in this case was against the rules as they stood. After the first Premier League case of insolvency with Portsmouth’s 2010 period of Administration there was some revision of the Premier League ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ Test. Such was the complexity of the intertwining ownership connections at Pompey that in February 2010 it was taken over...

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Same As The Old Boss: Another Investor Sets Its Eyes On Portsmouth

Considering so many of the events of the last three or four years or so, yesterday was an altogether satisfactory day for Portsmouth Football Club. A win by three goals to nil at Crawley Town lifted the team out of the relegation places at the foot of League One, whilst supporters were able to keep themselves entertained with rumours of another bidder to rescue the club from administration. Yet one of the names connected with this brand new bid is a very familiar one, and it should raise concerns amongst all supporters of the club – as well as those at the Football League and the Football Association – that this club remains a target for overseas speculators who wish to preserve their anonymity yet are still considering putting a large amount of money into English footballs highest-profile financial basket-case. Yet there is something queasily familiar about this bid, and this queasiness comes from the identity of what looks like becoming its public face: Sulaiman Al-Fahim. Al-Fahim has been here before, of course. He purchased the club in July 2009 after having been apparently sidelined by the Abu Dhabi United bid to buy Manchester City. He didn’t hold onto this shares for particularly long. By October of that year he had sold ninety per cent of his share-holding in the club to the mysterious Ali Al-Faraj and his similarly...

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Signore Pantalone and the Pompey Comedy of Errors

It is often the last resort of the villain in a pantomime to curse his conquerors with his dying breath. Which thought leads me directly to  the vainglorious attacks of  Pompey’s chief creditor, Balram Chainrai, on the Pompey Supporters’ Trust. Indeed, not only the Pompey Trust but the entire Trust movement. For the edification of Sky Chainrai declares, ‘Supporters Trusts’ have a poor record of passing successful rescue packages and unfortunately the PST shows no reason why they would do any better.’ Swansea fans might like to contemplate their lack of success at this point. Despite this, the Pompey Supporters Trust edge ever closer to the biggest coup of the Trust movement to date. Their only obstacle is the villain of the piece himself. Meantime, Chainrai appears to be bidding for the role as Pantalone, a rich and miserly old merchant, driven to protect his money, whilst enjoying keeping those that belong together apart; one who is the perennially bitter butt of many jokes in the Commedia Del’Arte. His character lies at the root of many a pantomime villain. The more he doth protest the more risible his actions become. Surely a stranger to reality, the Football League cannot seriously be contemplating passing such a character as ‘fit and proper’ without facing accusations of bringing the game into disrepute. For it would seem that Chainrai is now becoming the very...

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