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Portsmouth to plead case to play in Europa League next season

Fri 23rd Apr 2010 | Club & Country Competitions

Portsmouth are expected to appeal to the Football League and the Premier League to consider "the players and loyal supporters" following the governing bodies' joint statement that the club would not be allowed to play in next season's Europa League.

By reaching the FA Cup final, Portsmouth automatically qualify for the competition, however they have been denied their place after falling into administration meaning they were unable to apply for the club licence to play by the 1 March deadline set by the FA

The club had hoped to appeal to be allowed to lodge a late application next week, as Uefa's official deadline is 31 May, before yesterday's move by the FA and Premier League.

Speaking in the Guardian, Chainrai the club’s owner said "We are trying to put things right at Portsmouth by putting proper governance procedures in place and ensuring all financial matters are above board and transparent. Yet the club seem to be continually being punished for the problems created by previous regimes.

"How many more times will Portsmouth be punished for that which was absolutely not the responsibility of myself, the players and most importantly our loyal supporters?"

This week the full scale of the club's parlous finances was revealed by Andrew Andronikou, the joint administrator, when he released for publication the creditors' report, which exposed Portsmouth's total debt as £122.8m. View Full Report Here

Chainrai pointed to this transparency as evidence of the club's desire to move on from its mismanagement under previous owners, Ali al-Faraj, Sulaiman al-Fahim and Sacha Gaydamak. He said: "We also appointed an administrator who has proceeded in a correct and transparent fashion and so I don't see what more we can do to prove that we are determined to proceed in a proper way.

"It was a tremendous effort from the players to reach the FA Cup final against all the odds, and all we would ask is for the opportunity to take up the reward for such an achievement – to play in Europe. The spirit and determination shown by the players and supporters deserves nothing less."

It is understood that Chainrai, who is owed about £14m as a secured creditor of the club, may take legal advice over the move by the FA and League. The joint statement published by the governing bodies said: "The FA and Premier League have confirmed to the administrators of Portsmouth Football Club that they shall not consider any late application for the granting of a Uefa club licence for the 2010-11 season."

If Portsmouth are not allowed to play then the seventh-placed Premier League club, which is currently Liverpool, would take their spot.

Andronikou, who had been confident the club would be given the licence, echoed Chainrai's views. "We have spent a long time going through all the necessary steps and we had hoped to make an application next week," he said.

"We felt that we would do our bit and that it would be up to the FA and the Premier League to do theirs. It's wrong for the fans that they should not be allowed to support their club in Europe next season."

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