Portsmouth will close on 10 August unless senior players agree to wage caps (Reuters)
Portsmouth will close on 10 August unless senior players agree to wage caps (Reuters)

Portsmouth FC says it is likely to have no option but to close the club on 10 August if senior players do not agree to transfers or wage cuts.

Joint administrator Trevor Birch said that the wages of seven senior players will need to be drastically cut or the team will face liquidation in a little over two weeks.

Birch has continued to negotiate with the players throughout the summer in a bid to reach an agreement before the League One season kicks off on 18 August against Bournemouth at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth will start the new season with a 10-point reduction for going into administration.

Birch has implemented a £5,000-a-week cap on salaries in an attempt to temporarily starve off liquidation, but is struggling to reach a compromise with players such as Tal Ben Haim, who earns £36,000 a week, and Nwankwo Kanu. Both players are reportedly claiming around £3m in unpaid salary. 

Birch said: "The facts are straightforward: under the terms of the offer for the club, in order to complete the CVA proposal, the players have to leave and conclude compromise settlements.

"This condition has been imposed by the Pompey Supporters' Trust as well as by Portpin [the firm of former owner Balram Chainrai]. Both interested parties have made it clear that they won't take on the club unless there is movement by the players.

"We will continue to do all we can to facilitate these deals but the club's future hinges on the willingness of certain players and their agents to sign up to compromise agreements that are affordable both in terms of the amount and timing of repayments.

"Unless we make significant progress on this front by August 10, then we are likely to have no option other than to close the club.

"We are making good progress with three or four players but despite many conversations and offers over the past few weeks, some players and agents still don't understand what's at stake here.

"If the club is liquidated, players will not be protected by the Football Creditor provisions. They will become ordinary unsecured creditors in a situation where there is unlikely to be any dividend."

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said a few of the players have been treated to "unfair intimidation", but agreed that all parties must agree to take a cut if the club is to stay in business.

He told Sky Sports News: "If this club is going to survive we need everybody to have something - but not all that they are owed, otherwise everybody's just going to get nothing."