|One of Scotland’s biggest and most popular football teams is under administration [GALLO/GETTY]|
The potentially fatal cash crisis engulfing Scottish champions Rangers resulted in the club putting itself into adminstration on Tuesday.
The move meant Rangers – who are chasing Celtic in the Scottish Premier League – suffer a 10 point reduction. The decision followed an unsuccessful bid by HM Revenue and Customs at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to appoint their own administrator.
Rangers appointed London-based firm Duff and Phelps to take over the running of the club, who will look into its massive debt, estimated at around $118 million.
Owner Craig Whyte, who bought the club from Sir David Murray for $2 in May and pledged to pay off its $28 million debt to Lloyds Banking Group, blamed the previous regime for the current problems and said administration represented the best hope of long-term survival.
Rangers draw an average home gate at Ibrox of 46,000 – higher than leading English clubs Liverpool and Chelsea – yet are still facing the prospect of financial meltdown.
Whyte tried to explain their predicament on Monday by saying: “As I have said before, Rangers costs approximately $70 million per year to operate and commands around $55 million in revenue.”
Rangers were forced to sell star striker Nikica Jelavic to English side Everton on last month’s transfer deadline day in a bid to bring in cash.
But deadline day also saw Whyte admitting that under him Rangers had borrowed more than $30 million in lieu of season ticket sales.
Rangers and arch-Glasgow rivals Celtic are Scotland’s two most successful clubs and their rivalry, anchored in sectarian hatred with Rangers a largely Protestant club and Celtic a Catholic one, is arguably the most bitter in all British football.
Celtic led the SPL by four points but after the decision on Tuesday are now 14 points clear of Rangers, who are a huge 19 in front of third-placed Motherwell.
But while the duo dominate Scottish football, they’ve struggled to make an impact upon the lucrative European Champions League.