Pompey still dream of Europe

2010-04-13 20:45
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Portsmouth - Portsmouth's administrator has not given up hope of the cash-strapped club playing European football next season after they upset the odds to reach the FA Cup Final.

The south coast side, who have debts of over $115m, beat Tottenham 2-0 after extra-time in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final - just a day after they were relegated from the Premier League.

Their appearance in the FA Cup Final, against double-chasing Chelsea at Wembley on May 15, would, in normal circumstances, guarantee a place in next season's Europa League.

However, they've yet to apply for a club licence issued by European football governing body UEFA which bottom of the Premier League Portsmouth, who were effectively relegated when they were docked nine points for entering administration, need to have if they are to play in continental competition next season.

Portsmouth have until May 31 to apply for a licence and their administrator, Andrew Andronikou, believes they will fulfil all the relevant criteria.

"Since Sunday we have been scoping out what we can do and trawling through legalities," Andronikou said on Tuesday.

"I believe that we will satisfy all the criteria. We should be in a CVA (company voluntary arrangement) by the deadline, all debts will have been sorted out and arrangements made with the football creditors. We should tick all the boxes.

"In terms of sport ethics, I think the club has had its medicine, has been taught its lesson and should be allowed to go forward and preventing them from playing in the Europa League would be wrong."

UEFA devolve responsibility for their licensing scheme to national governing bodies so Portsmouth's fate now rests with the Football Association.

Pompey - who on several occasions this season have failed to pay their staff on time - will need to satisfy the FA they have no late payments outstanding to other clubs, players and their own employees.

Everton are one of the Premier League clubs who could find themselves in Europe if Portsmouth's bid is rejected and David Moyes, the Merseysiders' manager, believes Pompey have missed their chance.

"I was told Portsmouth had not applied to be in Europe," Moyes said. "So if that was the case, they were not a consideration.

"It will be unfortunate for them but if they had not applied, you cannot say 'We want to do it now'."

When Portsmouth won the FA Cup in 2008, victory triggered a series of bonus payments and a European campaign that the Fratton Park club, who've been through several owners this season, ultimately could not afford.

"That was the issue in 2008, the bonus clauses were too geared to the players and not the club," Andronikou said. "Lessons were learned, a number of players then at the club have moved on and things have been addressed."

And he was confident victory over Chelsea, a huge upset were it to happen, would be a boon for the club's finances.

"If Portsmouth win the FA Cup there will be a huge financial benefit to the club," Andronikou insisted.

"Even getting to the final has made the club far more attractive and puts it centre stage in terms of parties interested in taking it over.

"We believe that will now gather pace over the next few weeks."

Read more on:    portsmouth  |  fa cup

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