Soccer-Suffering goes on for Portsmouth fans

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Portsmouth fans suffered a further delay to their efforts to rescue the stricken English club on Thursday when a court set a deadline of April for a ruling needed for the deal to proceed.

Portsmouth have been in administration for a year and are facing relegation to the fourth tier of the English game. They will lose league status completely if they do not exit administration by the end of the season.

The Pompey Supporters Trust want to buy the former Premier League club and turn it into the biggest fan-owned team in the country. However, their bid is conditional on court approval to buy the Fratton Park stadium and that case has been delayed several times.

"The court has this morning confirmed that the case will be heard by 19 April at the latest, which will enable us to meet the Football League's deadline for the sale of the club, subject to a favourable ruling," said a spokesman for administrator PKF.

The Football League has said it will not consider a rival bid by a consortium led by soccer deal-maker Keith Harris that emerged this month.

Portsmouth were in the Premier League as recently as 2009-10.

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, scorers for AC Milan in their 2-0 Champions League win over Barcelona on Wednesday, are both former Portsmouth players.

(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Ed Osmond)