Bloomberg News

Portsmouth Soccer Club’s Parent Is Put Into Administration

November 29, 2011

(Updates with resignation of Antonov in third paragraph, information on Bankas Snoras in sixth.)

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Portsmouth, the first Premier League soccer club to seek protection from creditors, said its parent company has been placed into administration, a form of bankruptcy.

The move by Convers Sports Initiatives Plc was announced today on the team’s website. Portsmouth Football Club Ltd., the operating company, continues to trade, the team said today. The team was placed into administration in Feb. 2010.

Vladimir Antonov, who bought the club in June, has resigned as chairman and director of the club.

Portsmouth was docked nine points by the Premier League in the 2009-2010 season, which ended in the club being relegated. It is now 17th in the Championship, England’s second division. The club has short-term funding in place, and will seek more investors for the long-term, it said.

“After the extraordinary amount of work put in by so many people over the last 18 months to get to this point, it is incredibly disappointing for the club to find itself in this position,” Chief Executive Officer David Lampitt said in the statement. “We will continue to do everything possible to safeguard the position of the club and its longer term future.”

On Nov. 25, Antonov and fellow ex-Bankas Snoras AB owner Raimondas Baranauskas told a U.K. judge they were innocent of Lithuanian allegations of fraud and embezzlement that pushed the bank into insolvency.

Antonov, 36, and Baranauskas, 53, were granted bail by Judge Caroline Tubbs at a Nov. 25 hearing in London. They were arrested in the city the day before after Lithuanian authorities issued a European arrest warrant. They deny the charges.

The Lithuanian government took over Snoras, the country’s third-biggest bank by deposits, on Nov. 16 after the central bank discovered that assets reported on the lender’s balance sheet were missing. The Central Bank said today that Snoras was insolvent and would seek court protection.

Antonov was to be released on bail of 75,000 pounds ($117,000) and must report to a police station near his home in the Notting Hill region of London three times a week.

--Editor: James Cone, Alex Duff

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Elser in London at celser@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Cone at jcone@bloomberg.net


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