March 01, 2012

LONDON (Reuters) -- The crisis at English championship club Portsmouth has deepened and they may not survive until the end of the season, the club's administrator said on Thursday.

Portsmouth's plight has worsened after it emerged that 2.2 million pounds ($3.51 million) of "parachute money" paid to clubs dropping out of the Premier League had been assigned to former owner Alexandre Gaydamak and would not reach the club.

"Unless something significant happens, there is a real possibility that we may not be able to fulfil the season's fixtures," administrator Trevor Birch said in a statement, adding that lawyers would challenge the payments to Gaydamak.

"The more we uncover, the worse the picture appears to get," said Birch, who works for accounting firm PKF.

Portsmouth first went into administration two years ago and were relegated from the Premier League to the second-tier championship that season.

Their latest financial problems came to a head in November when Russian owner Vladimir Antonov was arrested over alleged fraud at a Lithuanian bank.

They are second from bottom of the championship after losing 10 points for going into administration last month.

Birch said the club had been contacted by several people who might try to rescue the club and the administrators would be sifting through them.

"Any potential bidders will need to be prepared to make a major investment in the club because the outlook for next season looks challenging unless we can sell some players in the summer," he said.

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