League One side Portsmouth are showing signs that they will end the week with the issues surrounding their over-inflated player wage bill much clearer, after their highest earner agreed to leave the club.
Israeli player Tal Ben Haim had been exposed by administrator Trevor Birch as having a salary of £36,000 a week, plus an image rights deal that put him on earnings greater than a number of League One clubs entire playing budgets. He has now left the club, leaving Liam Lawrence as the last of Pompey's big earners left on their books, although Kanu is still aiming to have his situation resolved through a tribunal.
Birch expects Lawrence's situation to be resolved today, beating a deadline of tomorrow that had been set in order to finalise the purchase of the club. With that prospect now in mind, Birch is now looking for prospective owners Portpin to push through their plans:
"We expect to make an announcement on Liam Lawrence’s future later today and, whilst the situation with Kanu has not yet been resolved, we are cautiously optimistic about our prospects. The progress that we have made over the past 24 hours means that there is now a much better prospect of meeting the conditions of the CVA, completing the sale of the club and avoiding liquidation. As a result, we will now push on with our negotiations with Portpin, with a view to finalising a deal in the next few days."
Pompey's other race against time relates to their ability to register players with the Football League. The over-sized wage bill, combined with extreme doubt over whether they'd be able to start the new season, has meant that the League currently have placed them under a transfer embargo.
The Hampshire club are due to commence their fixtures next Tuesday with a League Cup First Round tie against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park, but currently do not have enough players to fulfil the fixture. The common belief is that most of Portsmouth's pre-season trialists are in fact committed signings, but that the paperwork cannot be put through until the Football League give the green light. Whether the League will agree to temporary dispensation, isn't clear at this stage.
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