Pompey locked out of Europe


LONDON, April 22 – Portsmouth will not be allowed to play in the Europa League next season after the English Football Association and Premier League told the FA Cup finalists their late bid to register for the tournament had been rejected.Avram Grant’s team would have qualified to play in Europe next season after reaching the FA Cup final against Chelsea as the Blues will already be in the Champions League.

But Portsmouth had failed to apply for the required UEFA club licence before Pompey’s surprise run to the final and the club’s administrators were told on Thursday that any late application for the licence will not be considered due to the financial problems.

A joint statement from the FA and Premier League said: "The FA and Premier League have confirmed to the administrators of Portsmouth Football Club that they shall not consider any late application for granting of a UEFA Club Licence for the 2010-11 season."

The decision means that the team who finish seventh in the Premier League – currently Liverpool – would play in the Europa League instead.

UEFA had said Portsmouth could submit a late application before May 31 but the Premier League and the FA believe Portsmouth’s financial situation is so bad that they would not meet any of the criteria.

The club, already relegated from the Premier League, is in administration with debts totalling 119 million pounds (183.49 million dollars).

Portsmouth’s administrator Andrew Andronikou said: "We have spent a long time going through all the necessary steps and we had hoped to make an application next week.

"We felt that we would do our bit and that it would be up to the FA and the Premier League to do theirs.

"It’s wrong for the fans that they should not be allowed to support their club in Europe next season."