Share trading on Southampton football club has been suspended amid fears that the club's owners could be set to go bankrupt.
Southampton Leisure Holdings, the company that owns the St Mary's outfit, have released a statement confirming their precarious financial position.
Concerns were first raised over Southampton's plight when the company delayed publishing its half-yearly report up to the end of December.
And with the deadline for the report coming yesterday, shares on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) were suspended and the company released the following statement: "The company is currently in discussions with a number of parties concerning the injection of additional finance into its business.
"Unless this funding is secured, the company will be unable to continue as a viable business for the forthcoming 12 months and is therefore unable to publish half-yearly report to December 31st 2008 by 31 March 2009, which it is required to do under the AIM rules.
"Under the AIM Rules, a company that does not publish its half-yearly report within three months of the period end will have its shares automatically suspended.
"The directors expect that the company will not be able to sign-off its half-yearly report for the six months ended December 31st 2008 until the completion of a re-financing."
Southampton's shares will not be reactivated on the markets until the aforementioned report has been published, the AIM added.
Shares in the club have lost a third of their value in the last week - plummeting from 14p per share to 9.5p per share when trading was suspended at 07:00 BST today.
The club could be set to benefit from a loophole in Football League rules governing administrative procedures, however, as it will be the holding company that applies for bankruptcy rather than the club.
However, inthenews.co.uk has learned that Southampton would be unlikely to avoid punishment from the league and would probably face a statutory minimum ten-point deduction next season if they do go into administration.