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Rangers chief upbeat as debt halved

By Lisa Gray

Rangers almost halved their net debt to about £14million in the year to June 30, the club's annual figures show.



The debt reduced from more than £27million to £14.05million, however the club's “net current liabilities” rose from about £21million to £34.3million.

Chairman Craig Whyte, who took over Sir David Murray's majority shareholding on May 6, revealed in his annual statement that the club “is no longer reliant on bank funding”.

But he warned that the tax dispute with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, thought to be the reason for the increased liabilities, was a “dark cloud” hanging over the club.

Rangers released their figures to the PLUS Stock Exchange and also issued a statement to the London-based market confirming Whyte had previously been disqualified as a director.

The statement read: “Craig Whyte was disqualified to act as a director of Vital UK Limited in 2000 for a period of seven years.”

The revelation had been contained in a documentary screened on BBC Scotland in October, a programme which prompted Whyte to take legal action against the broadcaster.

Whyte was in bullish mood yesterday, telling fans he was certain Rangers would rise to the challenges they faced.

The main issue is the tribunal brought by HMRC, due to resume next month, which could cost the club up to £49million.

Whyte recognised the contribution of Murray but promised changes in the running of the club, which had two representatives of Lloyds Banking Group on the board before Whyte took over.

Whyte said: “I firmly believe the changes I have implemented will be in the longer-term interest of the club.

“Perhaps the biggest change that has been effected since the takeover in May has been the repayment of all bank borrowings.

“The club is no longer reliant on bank funding, nor does any bank control our operations on a daily basis.

“I hope fans would share my view that, looking ahead, the club should do everything to live within its means and operate on a commercially viable basis.

“I firmly believe that is the only sustainable, long-term strategy for Rangers.”

Whyte added: “The club remains embroiled in historical tax issues.”

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