Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Rangers may not finish season, say administrators

Dark clouds: European football at Ibrox looks an unlikely prospect next season
Dark clouds: European football at Ibrox looks an unlikely prospect next season

The formation of a new Rangers is emerging as an increasingly likely scenario as administrators accelerate sale attempts after raising fears over their ability to finish the season.

Duff and Phelps made the dramatic warning yesterday that the club would not fulfil their Clydesdale Bank Premier League fixtures unless one of three scenarios developed quickly.

They are still in talks with players over a wage cut deal but will spend today and tomorrow meeting interested parties in a bid to achieve a quick sale.

The alternative will be "severe" redundancies in order to meet their target of £1million monthly savings.

A quick sale of the business as it stands now - the Rangers Football Club formed in 1873 - would be problematic for numerous reasons, including the difficulty in securing a creditors agreement and uncertainty over the outcome of the tax tribunal into the use of Employee Benefit Trusts.

Director Dave King yesterday claimed liquidation was inevitable and administrators appear to be preparing fans for the possible formation of a new company.

Joint-administrator David Whitehouse told Rangers TV: "What we don't want to do is mix the terminology here and start to portray liquidation as a process which creates the cessation of the business.

"The liquidation will wind up a business following the sale of the business activities into a newco.

"So in any scenario we would still envisage that Rangers Football Club could play football and operate as a football team.

"We have always said that liquidation is a possible scenario.

"The preferred scenario from our perspective both in terms of the return to creditors and a platform for retaining an ongoing continuous business is through a CVA.

"That would take time to deliver and in the event that we can't bridge this funding gap which we have at the moment, then we would have to look at alternative strategies."

A new Rangers company would be able to acquire the current club's SPL share, subject to the approval of the league's board, but clubs could enforce sanctions in that scenario.

A new club would also be prevented from playing in Europe for three seasons, but administrators admitted yesterday that Rangers had no realistic prospect of getting a European licence for next season anyway.

Whitehouse added: "We have to look at the time constraint and if it is possible to conclude a transaction within a very short timetable simply because we can't deliver the cost cuts necessary to keep the fabric of the business in place, then we would also have to look at selling into a newco scenario.

"That brings with it risks in terms of the level of European activity in the coming years and also sanctions from domestic football which would need to be subject to negotiation.

"If we were to look to a very early sale of the business that is probably a more likely scenario."

The need for a quick sale could be avoided if all players and administrators agree over compromise details surrounding their wage cut plan.

Administrators would not accept contractual demands from about half a dozen players despite consensus over significant wage cuts.

"Amongst the whole squad there was a commitment made to reduce monthly salary intake, in many cases up to 75%," Whitehouse said. "These were waivers, not deferrals.

"But there were a number of situations where, as a condition of those waivers, other requirements were put in place which in our opinion, having spent the best part of this morning talking to interested parties and other stakeholders, would materially impact on our ability to achieve a sale of the business.

"Those conditions, in the wider good of the club, I don't think could be met.

"We have met those players again and they are reconsidering their position.

"We would hope we may be able to reach a resolution, but we can't rely on that so we have to look at other options."

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