Portsmouth squad asked to defer wages to save club

ROB HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Members of Portsmouth's playing squad were asked Wednesday to defer their wages after being warned that the stricken club could run out of money in two months and be forced to close.

The 2008 FA Cup winners also laid off several officials, including the chief executive, on Wednesday as the club fights for survival after being forced to enter bankruptcy protection last week for the second time in two years.

The administrators now running the second-tier club have revealed that one player alone, reportedly Israel defender Tal Ben Haim, has been earning more than 30,000 pounds ($47,000) a week despite the team being relegated from the Premier League in 2010.

Administrator Trevor Birch has asked players, who have not been paid since December, and other employees to now "defer wages on an ongoing basis" while making a "number of redundancies across all levels and departments."

"These measures are painful for everyone involved with the club, but they are essential for Portsmouth's survival," Birch said.

The former Chelsea chief executive has found the financial crisis to be "more serious" than he had expected before arriving at the club last week.

"This is not a sustainable situation and one that needs to be addressed urgently if the club is to continue to exist," Birch said. "As things stand, there is a serious risk that the club could run out of cash within the next couple of months. I recognize that this is not the news that anyone wants to hear but burying our heads in the sand will not help anyone.

"Today's redundancies will make a difference to the club's financial position but there are sure to be further challenges ahead of us. Portsmouth's survival depends on us being able to find a buyer for the club before the money runs out."

The club is in the League Championship relegation zone after being docked 10 points for entering administration, the British form of bankruptcy protection.