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Pompey face fresh hurdle in survival battle

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has had to endure a season disrupted by financial woes off the field.
Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has had to endure a season disrupted by financial woes off the field.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Struggling English Premier League club Portsmouth face new hurdle in survival battle
  • British tax officials took legal action to challenge the Premier League club's administration
  • High Court judge decide in two weeks time if the administration is legal
  • Portmouth will be deducted nine points when the administration is confirmed
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(CNN) -- Portsmouth are facing a fresh legal hurdle in their battle for survival after being placed in administration.

A High Court judge in London Tuesday ordered a hearing to be convened in two weeks time to ascertain whether the administrator Andrew Andronikou was validly appointed.

The action was brought by tax officials in England who are owed over $18 million as part of the club's overall estimated debt of more than $100 million.

Andronikou told reporters outside the court that he was confident that the matter would be settled in the club's favor.

"HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) have a right to ask questions and we have answers so we are moving on as normal," he said.

"We are all very relaxed. It doesn't affect things whatsoever. In terms of what I am doing everything is continuing as normal."

Mr Justice Norris asked Portsmouth to supply proof of "each and every sum" which Portpin -- the company of Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai, who has a controlling interest in the club -- lent to the club.

He also wanted full disclosure of any money paid to Portpin and Mr Chainrai by the club.

Andronikou had to cancel a scheduled meeting with Premier League chiefs at which he hoped to persuade them to waive the nine-point deduction for administration, which dooms them to certain relegation for the top-flight of English football.

The Premier League are reportedly mulling over the comments of the judge before making any further decisions.

It is another twist in a sorry saga which has left manager Avram Grant and his threadbare squad in an almost impossible situation at the bottom of the table.

Explainer: What next for Portsmouth?

Portsmouth have had four owners this season and for the few months both the players and the staff have been paid late.

Pompey, who won the English FA Cup under Harry Redknapp in 2008, are the first Premier League club to go into administration.

On Saturday, the team achieved a morale-boosting 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Burnley and have reached the quarterfinals of the English FA Cup where they will play Birmingham City.