18 Mar 2010

Portsmouth football club almost certain to be relegated

6:09 am on 18 March 2010

The Portsmouth football club face almost certain relegation from the English Premier League after being docked nine points for going into administration last month.

The debt-laden south-coast club are the first Premier League team to suffer a points penalty for entering administration.

They now have just 10 points and are 17 points adrift of the safety zone with just nine games remaining.

The nine-point deduction had been delayed while Portmsouth's move into voluntary administration was formally validated -- a situation resolved in the High Court when a winding up order against the club was suspended.

Last week Portsmouth, which has debts of about $167 millon and has failed to pay players' wages several times this season, axed 85 jobs.

Club officials say they hope Portsmouth will come out of administration in six to eight weeks.

Failure to do so by the end of the season could trigger a 10-point deduction in the Championship (second division) next season.

Portsmouth, beaten 4-1 at Liverpool in the league on Monday, have reached the FA Cup semi-finals where they will play Tottenham Hotspur or Fulham at Wembley Stadium in April.