Rangers' administrators seek speedy sale

Rangers' administrators Duff and Phelps are seeking a swift sale of the club after failing to agree cost-cutting measures with the playing staff, it was announced today.

Discussions over how to make savings have ended without a resolution which would devalue the playing staff "on terms that will preserve the value in the business", joint administrator David Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse said in a statement: "We are announcing today we are accelerating the sale of Rangers Football Club.

"The club is in a perilous financial situation and that should not be under-estimated.

"Regrettably, we have been unable to agree cost-cutting measures with the playing staff on terms that will preserve value in the business.

"We understand the players' position as the scale of wage cuts required to achieve these savings without job losses were very substantial indeed.

"In view of this, we are faced with a situation of making redundancies within the playing staff on such a scale that would materially erode the value of the playing squad.

"We are striving to strike a balance where cost-cutting measures can be implemented but do not destroy the fabric of the playing squad to the extent that it will inhibit the prospect of a sale."

There was further bad news when Rangers were all but ruled out of European competition next season after their administrators admitted there was “no realistic prospect” of them securing a licence.

Joint administrator Paul Clark vowed to seek special dispensation from the football authorities – they must apply to the Scottish Football Association, who use UEFA rules to determine whether licences are issued.

However, he added that the stewardship of Craig Whyte had left Rangers with almost no chance of meeting the criteria before the March 31 deadline.

Administrators, who took control on February 14, are seeking to make savings of £1m per month.

Duff and Phelps had set Monday as a final deadline to reach a consensual agreement but they reconvened yesterday morning to discuss another proposal from players and talks resumed today.

Unless a buyer is found quickly, administrators will have no choice but to make the necessary cuts which would leave Rangers in danger of failing to fulfil their fixtures for the remainder of the SPL season.

Whitehouse said: "No-one should be in any doubt that in the absence of sufficient cost-cutting measures or receipt of substantial unplanned income, the club will not be able to fulfil its fixtures throughout the remainder of the season.

"As a result, we are expediting the sale process and over the next few days we will be holding discussions with prospective purchasers who have declared their interest. "The manager, Ally McCoist, will play an integral part in these discussions.

"If, however, it becomes apparent that the sale process cannot be accelerated there will be no choice but to implement very severe cost cutting measures at the club."

The administrators made their stark warning over the club's immediate future after a series of statements from the main players in the club's financial affairs in recent times.

Rangers director Dave King warned that liquidation was "inevitable" but his former board colleague Paul Murray disagreed.

Murray, who is an ally of King, stressed he would push ahead with plans to lodge a takeover proposal with Duff and Phelps by their original March 16 deadline for indicative bids.

South Africa-based King, the only survivor from the David Murray era on the board, also hit out at the past and present owners for an alleged lack of clarity over the club's true financial state.

King announced his intention to sue Murray for £20m on the basis of "non-disclosure".

The Murray Group responded with a statement that read: "We note with some interest, and much incredulity, Dave King's press statement.

"It is difficult to understand his motives, given he has been a director of Rangers Football Club since the year 2000.

"Throughout the period of his directorship, Dave King has attended and participated in regular board meetings, including those approving the annual audited accounts, received board papers quarterly, had full access to the executive management of the club, and been privy to the same detailed financial and commercial information as every other board member.

"In the event that he actually lodges a claim, we would vigorously defend it."

King also expressed frustration over the financial information given to him by Craig Whyte, who he accused of "duping" fans over the funding of his takeover, having belatedly admitted he used funds in lieu of future season ticket sales.

In a statement, Whyte responded: "There is absolutely no necessity for Rangers Football Club to go into liquidation.

"I believe we will come out of administration by way of a Creditors Voluntary Agreement.

"That is in the interests of all the stockholders."

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