By AVI CREDITOR
The cheer at Fratton Park, "Play up, Pompey," has a new twist to it from on high: Pay up, Pompey.
Portsmouth has been given a stay of execution after it was revealed that the team owes approximately £11.5 million in unpaid taxes to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
The High Court ruled Wednesday that the team has one week to produce a statement of its financial affairs and a plan to pay off the debt. If not, the last-place Premier League team may be shut down.
The judge at the hearing reportedly expressed concern over the team "continuing to trade" and building up a larger debt even though it is "insolvent."
Portsmouth is not the only English soccer club to be given the winding-up order. Cardiff and Southend (the team of American goalkeeper Ian Joyce) were given 28 days to clear their financial debts, or they, too, will be put out of business.
Pompey was given just the seven days after claiming that the organization is in serious talks with two potential buyers who would be able to clear the debt.
In other news this Wednesday:
MLS LABOR TALKS POSTPONED
Major League Soccer has had to postpone labor talks because of the snow storms that are ravaging the East Coast.
MLS commissioner Don Garber and president Mark Abbott, among others, were scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with MLS Players' Union officials Wednesday, but the weather has derailed those plans for the time being.
Snow is in the Washington forecast through Wednesday night, and the area has received upwards of 35 inches in the last week.
The extended deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement is Feb. 12.
BARCELONA DENIES FABREGAS TALKS
The game of he-said, he-said concerning the future of Cesc Fabregas continues.
Barcelona denied that any agreement has been made with the Arsenal star after recent reports linked him to a return to the Nou Camp this summer.
"Barca flatly deny that there have been any negotiations or agreements with the player," the team said in part of a statement.
Expect the rumor mill to keep churning out reports throughout the remainder of the season.
BRANSON LINKED TO CRYSTAL PALACE
Sir Richard Branson has expressed interest in buying Coca-Cola Championship squad Crystal Palace after the team took out an ad in the Financial Times Tuesday to announce it is for sale.
The Virgin chairman, one of the world's richest people, admitted that a bid to buy isn't likely but that he would be "happy to have a look."
Do you think Portsmouth will be able to stave off being shut down? Hope for another MLS CBA extension because of the weather?
Share your thoughts below.