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Mid-Day Ticker: Portsmouth has a week, MLS talks on hold and more



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:


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.


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.


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.


  1. You think the league’s success doesn’t matter to the players? I don’t think that is true either way you could look at it. They do care, and they do need it. That is insane. 75% of the players wouldn’t play professional soccer if not for MLS. That is just dumb.

  2. The players hold a pretty valuable card. No play, means no extra promotion from the world cup….kind of a big deal to MLS. Doesn’t matter to the players though. So the players do have some power at least.

  3. Fischy, From my extensive research I have been able to determine that there has not been enough snow there to stop you from posting that their is a lot of snow there. Therefore communication is available. If they wanted to work on a CBA remotely and make some progress they could work on a CBA remotely. But clearly they don’t.

  4. Did the storm knock out all phone lines? Did the video confernece link crash under the weight of the snow? Just saying they seemed really quick to cancel without trying any other options. It is that important to us!

  5. Josh, just because both sides know it needs to happen won’t necessarily make it happen. Management probably feels like they own all the cards right now and will probably be loathe to give them up. That’s especially true in an uncertain economy and considering that MLS’s business model has been based on first survival and then slow, steady, tightly controlled revenue growth. They probably feel MLS players are still pretty expendable on the international market and any concessions should be minor. Of course that would be foolish and the league needs to loosen the reins a little and financially grow up in order to compete internationally, especially for the best young domestic and foreign talent. We’ll see if management can step up and make that leap of faith.

    It’s a crossroads, make-it/break-it moment for the league. MLS has come an admirably long way but there’s still many in the North American sports following general public who would not miss it or even celebrate if MLS went under (the Jim Romes of the sports world) and rival countries would still cackle at its demise. For the continued development and growth of the original football in the U.S. I hope the sides can come together and do the right thing. A strike will only kill the league in front of a still largely uninvolved or disinterested general public dealing with larger problems to begin with.

  6. Lenny…they are not going to come to an agreement…on the 12 of Feb they are just going to increase the date to a later date…neither side is psuhing for ne thing to get done as of right now. The league is not going to lock the players out because it would look terrible in reguards to PR and the players will not strike until right before the first game because they want to get paid until then…

    Wake up everyone…if the league doesnt give the players guaranteed contracts there WILL be a strike trust me! If they refuse to do so then the players will go on strike right before game one it will happen.

  7. The PL will relegate 2 teams if Pompey go under, and based on how the FA has operated in the past I believe the highest-finishing team in each relegation zone would be reprieved down the pyramid. The FA reprieves instead of promotes.

  8. Dude, I grew up in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area and live in the DC now. The situation here is far worse than anything I ever experienced in Iowa/Nebraska from the mid 80s-2008 (including the recent Christmas 2009 blizzard that swept through the Omaha metro area).

    As fischy said, travel has been next to impossible since Saturday.

  9. Well said Calcio. It is difficult to describe just how bad (and historically unprecedented) the current weather situation is in the DC metro area…

  10. These English club bankruptcies are also a horrible backdrop for the union in the MLS talks. If a deal isn’t reached, all MLS has to do is point to the most successful, richest league in the world and say, “See? If their teams can’t make it imagine the pressure we are under.”

    (I am aware only one affected team is in the EPL but do you really think that distinction is going to be meaningful?)

    Time for the players to accept what is on the table and be happy they aren’t part of the 15% (real) unemployment.

  11. I can’t believe no one at MLS has heard of conference calls, video conferencing, skype, iChat, webcams, SBI comments section… They also could have left yesterday before the weather hit.

    Come on, just get a deal done already. I’m ready to buy season tickets as soon as they announce an agreement.

  12. Clearly, you two don’t appreciate the amount of snow we’ve had here and the impact it’s had. Travel is next to impossible. My guess is the league’s lawyers can’t get to their downtown offices and the Players Association people can’t get to their offices in Bethesda.

  13. That’s what I was thinking. Welcome to modern technology guys and the speaker phone. Hell, you could even do a live web feed if it is that important to see each other.

  14. That’s the point, isn’t it? He can’t. That’s why Barca is denying they are conducting talks with him. If they were talking with him, they’d be in some deep doo-doo.

  15. Does it say in the current CBA that a new CBA can’t be negotiated on a conference call? Get on with it already and save the travel money.

  16. The most snow in this area (DC) in 110 years? The Government is shut down, many have no power, and many roads are impassable….”SUCH AN IMPORTANT MATTER”….to us footie freaks maybe, but in the big scheme of things…NO…Our CBA concerns are a pimple on Mother Nature’s healthy sized Butt right now….

  17. Dramatic finish as Aris tied it in the 4th and final minute of injury – stupid foul led to a final second free kick, which was launched into the area for a header blasted off the bar, dropping just outside the post for a tap-in and celebration!

  18. I think beasley and edu are still injured. I’d like spector to leave west ham. He puts in good showings but is always under illunga and faubert in the lineup. I’d play him over tomkins though.

  19. Inflated transfer fees should be governed by FIFA, but they cant keep their feet moving in the right direction to save their lives. The English FA needs to step up and do something such as *ahem* a salary cap.

  20. So does that mean that there will be an extension of the Feb 12th deadline due to the snow? sounds like a real bad excuse for such an important matter.

  21. lots of scary financial situations over in England. This is what happens with spending gone wild, taking out high interest loans to match spending with bigger clubs just seems foolish to me. This is going to become even more common in the future with clubs like Madrid taking out enormous loans to pay ridiculous transfer fees. UEFA will have to step in and put an end to this at some point


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