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As if Portsmouth’s struggles on and off the pitch weren’t bad enough, Avraham Grant now has to deal with the embarrassment of Thursday’s revelations that he was the Premier League manager seen visiting a massage parlor in December.
The club is currently rooted at the bottom of the league standings and is also in financial disarray.
On Thursday it was announced that Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai has become its fourth owner in a year.
Police have launched an investigation into the premises in Horton Heath, where Grant had reportedly spent about an hour on December 18, but a spokesman has said that “there is nothing to evidence the allegations” made in connection with the location.
The Sun newspaper was the first to report that a Premier League manager had been caught visiting a “brothel”, but only named him on Thursday after a landmark court ruling.
Mr Justice Tugendhat revoked an injunction granted to Chelsea and England captain, John Terry, which had prevented reporting of his extra-marital affair.
Despite the awkwardness, Grant can at least take some comfort in the reaction of his wife Tzufit.
The 45-year-old said her husband was only getting a massage and even if he was visiting a brothel he has the right to privacy.
“He called me this morning to tell me about the story and I said ‘so what?’”, Tzufit told Army Radio. “Avraham went to get a Thai message and nobody has proven it is a brothel. Even if he did go to a brothel it is nobody else’s business.”
Chainrai’s ownership of Portsmouth FC will only be temporary.
It came about after his company, Portpin, took Ali al-Faraj’s 90 percent stake after exercising a clause in their agreement over a £17 million loan made to the Saudi.
Portsmouth, which lost 1-0 at Fulham on Wednesday, has failed on several occasions this season to pay its players on time. The south-coast club is also subject to a liquidation order from the government’s revenue and customs department.
“[Portpin is] taking control on a temporary basis to allow new owners to be found,” Portsmouth said Thursday. “Portpin’s aim is to come in and stabilize the club, sort out the business with the winding up order from HMRC [Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs] and sell it on to new owners.
“New directors will be appointed to the board and Peter Storrie will remain as chief executive and will be running the club.”
Portsmouth was on the brink of seeking bankruptcy protection before the season started, with Sacha Gaydamak still in charge.
The desperate financial situation looked to have been eased in August
when Sulaiman Al-Fahim completed his protracted takeover, but his
ownership lasted less than six weeks as he failed to refinance the club.
subsequent takeover was portrayed as rescuing the club, but he has
struggled since October to find investors to pay taxes and the debts
owed to other clubs.