Gers thrown into chaos by prospect of administration
The future of Rangers, the Scottish Premier League champions, was cast into deep uncertainty yesterday when the club gave notice of its intent to go into administration.
Such a move, which Rangers have 10 days to confirm, would incur an immediate 10-point penalty and hand the title to Celtic, who lead the SPL by four points.
Last night Craig Whyte, the club's owner, insisted it was the only option. With the verdict of a tax tribunal on a £49m bill imminent, the move did not come as a surprise -- Whyte raised the prospect last year -- but it sent reverberations through the Scottish game.
Rangers lodged legal papers with the court of session in Edinburgh at lunchtime. The club expect to take 10 "working days" before deciding whether to appoint an administrator.
That gives Whyte, the club's largest secured creditor, a window in which to negotiate with the Revenue (which would be the biggest loser were the club to collapse). Rangers insisted they will make "every effort until the last moment to avoid going into administration".
The SPL confirmed a 10-point penalty and a transfer embargo would be imposed if Rangers did go into administration. They signed striker Daniel Cousin yesterday before news of the lawyers' visit to Edinburgh emerged -- he'll be the only new arrival for some time.
The club has average home gates of nearly 46,000, three successive titles and European football, but Whyte says it costs £45m a year to run a club that brings in £35m in revenue.
The tax issue is separate from the day-to-day financial troubles. The case stems from a decision by the club's previous regime -- Whyte bought Rangers last year for £1 and took on £18m of debt -- to use employee benefits trusts (EBTs) to pay a number of its employees, including some players. (© Independent News Service)