Portsmouth relegated from Premier League
Crisis club Portsmouth were relegated from the English Premier League on Saturday after West Ham's 1-0 win against Sunderland.
Portsmouth will now kick-off in their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday knowing their seven-season stint in English football's top flight has come to an end. Their fate was sealed by Brazilian striker Araujo Ilan's 51st minute goal at Upton Park for West Ham.
The highest total Portsmouth, who have five league games left, can finish on is 29 points and that would still leave them in the relegation zone. Portsmouth, who have estimated debts of more than 76 million pounds (117 million dollars), had their demotion effectively confirmed last month when the Premier League docked them nine points for entering administration.
Their financial difficulties have been reflected in the south coast club's failure to pay staff and players on time on four occasions since August, and by the boardroom turmoil which has meant the club has had four owners this season. The club is currently in administration, having last been owned by Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai, who took control in early February.
Chainrai took charge in an attempt to recover some part of a 17-million-pound loan his company made to the former owner, Ali Al-Faraj. Chainrai's loan had been secured against the 90 percent stake that Al-Faraj acquired in October from previous owner Sulaiman al-Fahim, who had himself only been in charge for two months. Al-Fahim took over in August from Alexandre Gaydamak, who claims he is still owed 28 million pounds.
FA Cup bonuses cause pain
Portsmouth won the FA Cup in 2008 - the club's first significant silverware in 58 years. But that victory triggered a series of bonus payments to expensive players the medium-sized club could not afford and led to a European campaign for which they were ill-equipped. Portsmouth's FA Cup-winning manager, Harry Redknapp, left Fratton Park just months after that Wembley success to join Tottenham. Redknapp will be in the Spurs dug-out on Sunday, with former Chelsea boss Avram Grant now in charge of Pompey.
The FA Cup has provided some respite for Portsmouth's fans but the club's financial problems could yet scupper their hopes of a second triumph in three seasons should they get past Tottenham to face the winners of the first semi-final between Aston Villa and Chelsea on Saturday.
As many as seven Pompey players could miss the final as their appearance in the showpiece match would trigger bonus payments the club can no longer afford. "We are in negotiations with agents to try to get the clauses waived," said Portsmouth administrator Andrew Andronikou. "I am sure none of the players would want to miss an FA Cup Final."