BALRAM Chainrai’s Portpin has suspended its offer to buy Portsmouth Football Club.
Three weeks ago the firm was passed over by Pompey’s administrators PKF as preferred bidder for the club, with the Pompey Supporters’ Trust named instead.
It is the administrators’ job to tell the Football League which organisation has the financial wherewithal to bring a club out of administration and run it profitably.
In this case, Trevor Birch of PKF chose the PST.
But only today has Portpin come out and said it will be pulling out of the race to buy Pompey – the second time it has done so.
The firm says PKF has made the wrong decision in naming the PST as preferred bidders, saying progress on the PST bid ‘appears to have been non-exisent’.
Portpin is also saying it is going to question Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ decision to appoint PKF as administrators.
Balram Chainrai, chairman of Portpin, said: ‘We believe that the Football League has been put in an invidious position by the administrators, PKF.
‘It is the administrators’ job to manage the administration to a successful conclusion to the benefit of all creditors and yet PKF has off-loaded this responsibility to the Football League.
‘First, Trevor Birch named Portpin as preferred bidder, then, before the Football League was given any time to actually assess our bid, Trevor Birch decided to suddenly withdraw our preferred bidder status the same day, without any credible reasoning.
‘The PST was then named by Trevor Birch as the preferred bidder even though our bid remains with the Football League as they continued the process of evaluating our offer.’
Mr Chainrai continued: ‘And Pompey fans should be in no doubt that in my opinion they are being manipulated here.
‘Behind the PST bid are a number of property developers who now appear to be becoming the majority stakeholders rather than the PST themselves.
‘I believe their interest in buying the club is to secure the land.
‘The illusion of the Trust owning Fratton Park is just that: an illusion.’
PKF declined to comment on Portpin’s statement.
The Pompey Supporters’ Trust, meanwhile, said Mr Chainrai’s comments and Portpin’s statement seemed to be intended to ‘destablise’ the trust’s bid.
He added: ‘We’ve been working very hard with PKF over the past three weeks, and it’s still on track.
‘I welcome the fact that Portpin has finally accepted defeat in its bid to buy the club, and I think this statement has been issued simply to destablise our own bid.
‘The PST is preferred bidder for a reason: that it would be in the best interest of the creditors and the football club going forward that we are appointed.
‘The decision has already been made.’
The Football League could not be reached for comment.