Glasgow & West Scotland

Rangers FC's remaining fixtures 'at risk'

Rangers are in danger of not being able to complete their remaining fixtures this season unless a decision is made on who is entitled to £3.6m held in a bank account, a court has been told.

The money is being held by the lawyers for the club's administrators.

The funds were part of the process which saw Craig Whyte take over the club in May last year.

Lawyers for the administrators told the High Court in London they had expected to find £9.5m in the account.

But they said there was only £3.6m in the account and several parties are claiming ownership of the money.

They include HM Revenue and Customs, which wants £2.8m.

Merchants Turnaround is seeking £1m and pension fund Gerome is claiming £2.9m.

The court heard the football club's current financial situation was "grave".

Outside the court, Rangers' joint administrator David Whitehouse said there were a number of "seriously interested" parties seeking negotiations on taking over the club.

He also said there remained a need for redundancies among the playing staff to reduce the wage bill.

The hearing in the Companies Court in London was told that Rangers were at the risk of liquidation, demotion from the premier league, and having the club's assets sold at a price that was not "like anything of its true value".

Mark Phillips QC, for Rangers' administrators Duff & Phelps, told the hearing: "There is a risk that the club will fail to fulfil its fixtures.

"There is a risk that the club could go into liquidation and be demoted by the Scottish League, which would eliminate any realistic prospect of a sale of the club for any sum worthwhile to creditors."

The hearing before judge Mr Justice Warren marked the latest round of litigation in the wake of the club's financial crisis.

Administrators have secured the £3.6m that had been held in an account belonging to Mr Whyte's London-based solicitors.

Mr Phillips said administrators thought the sum would make a "significant contribution" to the survival of the club.

But the judge was told that a number of other organisations had staked a claim on chunks of that money.

A judge is due to decide who should get what after a High Court trial in London later this month, when lawyers will make arguments on behalf of organisations claiming cash.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman declined to comment on Rangers' plight at a daily media briefing in Westminster.

But he said: "Clearly, football clubs play an important role in this country and in local communities."

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