Portsmouth to Sell Out Of The Transfer Window: A Dangerous Precedent?

Jon NaylorSenior Analyst IFebruary 19, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Portsmouth football club fan David Maples waves a club flag outside the High Court on February 10, 2010 in London, England. Portsmouth FC have seven days to provide a 'statement of financial affairs' proving they can pay their creditors to avoid a winding-up petition.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

With the way that football’s finances are going, this was bound to happen sooner or later.

Portsmouth have made an official request to the Premier League to be allowed to sell players outside the window in a bid to ease their financial state.

The club offloaded three squad members in the January window, but in order for them to successfully keep the winding up order at bay, they argue more sales are essential.

With Portsmouth on the verge of financial collapse, if this move were denied it is possible it could go bankrupt before the season’s close.

If this were to happen, all fixtures involving them would be cancelled, with any points gained from playing them removed.

This, of course, would affect the table at both ends, with Pompey taking four points off Sunderland this season and achieving a notable win against Liverpool.

It is clear the club would not have made this request were it not in dire straits, making it apparent that it can’t last the season without selling. FIFA have hinted that they would allow sold players to play in the Premier League, but no other competitions, giving a few targets for clubs attempting to avoid the drop themselves. David James and Nadir Belhadj seem the most likely to go.

Any such move would have to be accepted by both the Premier League and FIFA, who have indicated that they would likely support the decision, but does this create a dangerous precedent for any clubs in a similar situation in the future?

The question is, would this happen in the future if other clubs found themselves in the same situation? The answer would have to be yes. This could provide a safety net for unscrupulous owners to gamble even more heavily with their club’s future, safe in the knowledge that if the cheques start bouncing, they can just make the same request and essentially bail themselves out.

The Premier League has a decision to make: either protect the integrity of this season, or the integrity of the competition as a whole. It’s incredibly tough on their fans, but the powers at Portsmouth have got themselves into this.

They have to get themselves out playing by the rules.

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