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Portsmouth hit by transfer ban

The transfer ban is another headache for Portsmouth manager Paul Hart.
The transfer ban is another headache for Portsmouth manager Paul Hart.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • English Premier League put transfer embargo on Portsmouth
  • Ban imposed after Portsmouth fail to pay debts on transfer dealings
  • Portsmouth sit bottom of the Premier League with solitary win
  • Belgian side Mouscron face being thrown out of championship

(CNN) -- English Premier League bottom club Portsmouth have been hit by a transfer ban as their season continues to unravel.

The Premier League confirmed on Wednesday that the embargo had been in place since October 15 for failing to pay money owed to other English clubs.

The transfers in question are reported to be Lassana Diarra's move from Arsenal in January 2008 and Glen Johnson's signing from Chelsea in August 2007.

Both players have subsequently moved on from Fratton Park at a substantial profit, but Pompey remain in financial turmoil.

Middle East businessman Sulaiman Al-Fahim bought Portsmouth at the start of the season, but his tenure as owner lasted less than six weeks as he failed to refinance the club and pay the players' wages on time.

His share was subsequently taken by Saudi Arabian property magnate Ali Al-Faraj, but his rescue of the south coast club does not appear to have improved the situation.

The Premier League ban means Portsmouth cannot bring players to the club until further notice and it threatens their ability to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window.

Club spokesman Gary Double insisted the problem would be rectified.

We are confident the situation will be sorted by the end of the week
--Portsmouth club spokesman

"This concerns unpaid money to other clubs and it is in the process of being sorted," he said.

"We are confident the situation will be sorted by the end of the week."

There was a rare glimmer of hope for manager Paul Hart and his beleaguered squad with a 4-0 English League Cup win over Stoke on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals of the competition, but Pompey have just one win from 10 league games.

Financial crisis has also hit Belgian first division side Mouscron, who have been banned from competing in their domestic championship and stripped of their license.

Mouscron are currently second bottom of the Belgian league and have debts of over $1 million. If they are thrown out of the championship it will revert to 15 from 16 teams with their results annulled.