Chainrai ‘is afraid of losing control of Fratton Park’

BATTLE Control of Fratton Park is Portpin's main concern, an expert says. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111408-23)
BATTLE Control of Fratton Park is Portpin's main concern, an expert says. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111408-23)
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PORTPIN’S fresh plans for Pompey show Balram Chainrai fears losing control of Fratton Park if his company doesn’t buy the club, according to a football finance expert.

Carl Faulds, managing director of Whiteley insolvency firm Portland, says the firm’s latest statement, issued earlier this week, says the right things but shows Portpin is acting mainly to stop anyone else taking control of the stadium.

It comes as Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir’s firm revised their ideas for the club earlier this week.

Portpin said it is prepared to turn a ‘significant amount’ of its debt into equity, offer a ‘multi-million pound, multi-year overdraft facility’ to the Football League as a cash flow safety net, and that parachute payments will be used to fund the business.

After digesting Portpin’s new aims, Mr Faulds told The News: ‘Portpin are concerned that they will lose control of Fratton Park if they don’t buy.

‘They say that they want to look longer term at investing in the club.

‘They are either trying to save face by not having bid debt to write off if someone else buys and takes control of Fratton Park, or they genuinely want to see the club survive and believe they have a responsibility as some sort of guardian.

‘Debt to equity is possibly a red herring, as it means converting some debt they are already owed to shares in the new club, but this is irrelevant as the existing debt will be written off if someone else buys, so it is not extra money being invested.’

He added: ‘The inference is that they see a better return on their existing debt if they retain control and put more money in, which is possibly also good for the long term future of the club. Overall, it says the right things, but clearly they don’t want someone else taking control.’

The News understands Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust remain the front-runners to take over Pompey, despite three other bids on the table from Laurence Bassini, Sulaiman Al Fahim and the Portco consortium.

Trust spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘The ball is in PKF’s court.’

‘The time we are spending on the bid will be worth it and hopefully pay dividends in the long run because we will have done the deal properly.’