West Ham's co-owner David Gold has claimed the Premier League "must take responsibility" and ensure Portsmouth do not go out of business. Portsmouth were on Wednesday granted extra time to fight a winding-up petition from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The Premier League's bottom club were given seven days to produce a statement of affairs to HMRC to detail their exact financial position.
HMRC claim Pompey owe them more than £11million (Dh63.25m) in total. A figure of £7.4m of Value Added Tax is included in the winding-up petition, which Portsmouth are disputing. Alexandre Gaydamak, the former owner, claims to be owed £28m and Sol Campbell, their former defender, is suing for £1.7m. If Portsmouth were closed down, the Premier League would be reduced to 19 teams and their results would be wiped out, giving the table a new look.
Gold said in the Mail on Sunday: "Anything that impacts on the integrity of the Premier League has to be addressed and if a club go bust, all the points are wiped out, giving an advantage to some clubs and a disadvantage to others. "That can't be right. For that reason, you have an obligation to save a football club. We have allowed Portsmouth to get into this mess. The brand is 20 Premier League football clubs. We must take responsibility."
David James, the Portsmouth keeper who was a key figure in their 4-1 FA Cup win over rivals Southampton on Saturday, is confident the club will still be in existence come the quarter-finals of the competition. "My instinct says it will be," he said. "I think it's too important for too many people, for football even, that a top-flight club can go out of existence. "It's not going to be easy and whoever it is who helps us out we'll thank them now."
* PA Sport