Portsmouth: Fratton Park hearing at High Court on 13-14 December

By Nabil HassanBBC South Sport
Fratton Park

The battle for Portsmouth will be heard at the High Court of Justice on 13 and 14 December.

However, that sale is conditional on PKF first gaining permission to sell Fratton Park - the club's stadium which is controlled by Balram Chainrai.

Chainrai is owed £17m by the club and holds a fixed charge over Fratton Park as security.

"We can confirm that the hearing to determine the proposed sale of Fratton Park has been scheduled for 13 and 14 December in the High Court in London," said administrator Trevor Birch.

"This hearing is critical in deciding the future of Portsmouth Football Club: if the Court agrees with the sale value of Fratton Park, we can sell the club as a going concern to the PST; if we lose, liquidation will become the most likely option.

"This Court case is the culmination of months of hard work behind the scenes in trying to resolve the complex issues which this administration has posed. We will continue to work closely with the PST to finalise our case."

The PST has offered the Hong Kong businessman £2.75m for the ground but, following his refusal to sell, administrators PKF have been forced to go to the High Court in an attempt to force Chainrai to release his charge.

If the court decides in favour of the PST, then PKF can finalise the sale of the club and start the process of bringing Portsmouth out of administration.

Pompey have been in administration since February and are said to be around £61m in debt.

The court would also make an independent valuation of Fratton Park - which is set to be bought by property developer Stuart Robinson and leased back to the club.

Robinson, who is one of several major investors involved with the PST, has also agreed a deal for the land surrounding Fratton Park with administrators David Rubin & Partners and it is thought he is planning a major redevelopment of the site.

However, if the court rules in favour of Chainrai then Pompey will be plunged into fresh crisis and could face liquidation.

It would also mean the PST would have to explore other options for where the club play, with Blue Square Bet South side Havant & Waterlooville being mentioned as a possibility.

Or they would have to find extra investment and try to strike a deal with Chainrai for Fratton Park.

The PST admitted to being relieved as the long-running saga looks close to reaching a conclusion.

"It is a relief to know we will have some certainty sooner rather than later,' said PST chairman Ashley Brown.

'"Our understanding is the matter will be resolved at this hearing as there is unlikely to be any grounds for any appeal.

"If all goes according to plan, and our legal advisors say we have a strong case, we will take control of Portsmouth FC shortly afterwards and the process of rebuilding our club can begin.

"That is why we are urging fans to fulfil their pledges or purchase shares by that date. The more working capital we can raise quickly, the more control we will have over the situation and the quicker we can get going with our plans.

"We are very encouraged by the initial response to the share offer. There is a steady stream of pledges and new purchases of shares arriving hourly; so many that we haven't been able to count them yet.

"However fans can't relax. This share offer needs to be a success or else there is a significant chance the club will be liquidated. There is no alternative offer on the table, so we have to make this work."

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