Sportsman's future could be decided 'in seven to 10 days'

Five staff have been made redundant at The Sportsman, but the company's administrators have said they are confident a buyer will be found to safeguard the other 100 jobs still at stake.

Simon Goodley and Geoff Marsh from the sports desk are the journalists to leave, while three other jobs are to go — one receptionist and two other administrative positions.

The administrators, UHY Hacker Young chartered accountants, expect to make another announcement within seven to 10 working days regarding the future of the title.

Acting managing director Mark Maydon has left and Press Gazette understands that Robin Holt could be appointed as new managing director when the next announcement is made.

In a statement, one of the administrators, Andrew Andronikou, said: "We obtained, and the result was therefore a straightforward breach of clause six (children) of the Editors' Code. The PCC dismissed the other aspects of the complaint because of a lack of evidence.

However the Commission wished to make clear that it would pursue the matare extremely confident that the negotiations over the sale of the business and its assets, which have been taking place with a number of interested parties, will be concluded within the next seven to 10 working days.

"The support of the paper's key suppliers and the dedication of the paper's staff has meant that the transition of the company into administration has gone extremely smoothly. This has allowed us to fast-track efforts to secure the future of the newspaper.

"Although some redundancies have been made, the majority of the 100- strong team will have their jobs safeguarded, as it is anticipated that we will proceed with a purchaser who is committed to investing a substantial sum towards working capital."

Andronikou and colleague Peter Kubik have been in charge of The Sportsman's finances since 20 July, when the title went into administration.

At the time, Kubik said that the paper was looking for reinvestment of at least £1 million, which could come from new buyers or more cash from existing investors.

He added that small newspapers had expressed an interest and that there had "been interest from people who do a similar type of paper".

The Sportsman launched in March with initial private funding of £12 million and a stated aim of hitting a 40,000 daily circulation to break even.

But its last ABC (for May) was 16,315 — a figure which dropped to 12,762 when bulk giveaways were taken out of the equation.

The Sportsman team includes editorin- chief Charlie Methven — former editor of the Daily Telegraph's Spy diary column — and chairman Jeremy Deedes.

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