The debt-ridden football club Portsmouth has been given special permission by the Premier League to sell players outside of the traditional transfer windows in an effort to help ease their current financial crisis. Portsmouth who lost 5-0 to Chelsea last night and have already had 9 points deducted as a penalty for going in to administration, will most certainly be relegated to the Championship.
Portsmouth became the first club in the top flight to go into administration with debts of approximately £60 million, and have already laid-off 85 staffers to cut their costs.
So, it came as a much needed respite when the Premier League re-considered its initial verdict and on Wednesday issued a statement giving permission to the crisis club to sell its players outside of the transfer windows. Pompey, however, do need to fulfill certain conditions before the sales can go through:
1. Players may be sold to other Premier League Clubs but may not play first team football for the new club before the end of the season.
2. Players may be sold to a Football League or foreign club, subject to Fifa’s approval.
3. Portsmouth FC may enter into an agreement with another Premier League, Football League or foreign club that a player will be transferred to that other club in the summer.
Following the news, the club administrator Andrew Andronikou was quick to point out that he wants the club to start the next season with an entirely new squad. He also revealed that 10- first team players were up for sale and that many others would leave the club when their contracts end. The club hopes to raise £30m and also to reduce their massive wage bill. The south coast club then plans to bring in players on free transfers in the summer. He told Soccernet:
“The major assets of this football club are the supporters who pay to watch their team, and then come the players. My job is to maximise both…
First of all, I must reassure the supporters that we will start next season with a completely new team, one that we believe will be able to compete, but most importantly we will have secured the future of the club for next season and the season after that, at least.
We have got to be clever in the way we maximise the value of the club’s greatest asset: the players themselves. We need to sell between eight and ten of our first-team squad. We currently have a first team squad of 28, we have 40 players at this club.
We will have as many again who will be coming to the end of their contract, and we will be letting them go. The reason is that the game as a whole will be shedding hundreds if not thousands of players this summer, and we can pick up some top talent on free transfers.”
This decision by the English Premier League in Portsmouth’s favour has lifted the spirits of the board and the fans. Many Pompey fans are now confident that their club will survive this crisis, and could be heard singing “Avram Grant’s Blue and White Army” and “We are going to Wembley” during their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea.
Portsmouth could still finish this season on a high, despite the almost certain relegation. They are still in the running for the FA Cup and have a Semi Final against Tottenham to look forward to,with a chance of a place in the Final against either Chelsea or Aston Villa, who face each other on April 10 in the other Semi Final.