Early Doors

Pay up Pompey, Pompey pay up

Early Doors

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After a morale-sapping seven consecutive defeats, what is the best way to get Portsmouth's players geared up for what looks increasingly like a must-win game against Wolves?

By not paying them, it seems.

In an official statement on the club's website today, Peter Storrie and his fellow directors pledged their support to owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim, then trashed him for his failure to meet the club's "contractual obligations" to the players, saying responsibility "remains with the owner".

In a separate interview, Storrie was even more explicit, saying: "There is no money left" and painting a picture of a club continually flirting with administration.

The Pompey chief executive appears to have little or no idea whether the situation is likely to improve, saying of the club's failure to pay wages: "I would imagine it is a blip." And ED would imagine the players would want greater assurances than that.

Storrie added: "Whatever we spend on a monthly basis comes channelled through from the new owner.

"He has promised to re-finance, and he has shown me all the documentation, but I have no idea about the conditions of the £50 million he says will be arriving in a few weeks."

The Al-Fahim takeover will probably be the final nail in the coffin of the Premier League's much-derided Fit and Proper Person test, and rightly so.

How can a club owner be deemed fit and proper when his own chief executive is in the dark about where the money is coming from?

Al-Fahim might well be completely legit, but if the people working closest to him don't know, then clearly the Premier League has failed to do a proper vetting job.

On current form, if Pompey do slip into administration, the consequent 10-point penalty could see them become the first team to finish a Premier League season in with a negative points total.

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More player unrest slightly further afield; Bolivia's players will boycott the national team's World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Peru in the next fortnight.

"None of those (players) called up will join up (with the team)," said Milton Melgar the executive secretary of players' association Fabol.

Fabol announced in mid-September that their members were resigning from the national team indefinitely in demand of major changes to the structure of the domestic game.

Bolivia coach Erwin Sanchez named a 22-man squad on Tuesday for the matches at home to Brazil on October 11 and away to Peru on Oct. 14 and said they would gather on Thursday to begin their preparations.

Both are dead rubbers since Brazil have already qualified for the 2010 finals while Bolivia and Peru, in the bottom two places of the South American group, are out of the running.

This state of chaos in the Bolivian game did not prevent them from walloping Diego Maradona's Argentina 6-1 in La Paz a few months ago, however.

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QUOTE OF THE AFTERNOON: Phil Brown on the appointment of Nicky Barmby as Hull captain: "This is something that has got Nicky's name written all over it. He has matured into a leader, none more so than over the last couple of years at Hull City. He's had a lot of close relationships with managers during his career and I feel as though I have got a close relationship with him. We speak frankly about things and we share things, none more so than about what is happening at Hull City at the moment. He is a strong enough character in the dressing room."

Number of starts made by Nicky Barmby this season: none.

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