RANGERS Football Club will survive the current financial crisis and come out stronger, its chairman has insisted.
The club’s legions of loyal fans around the world were left shocked yesterday when the Glasgow giants served a notice of intention to appoint administrators.
However, Rangers chairman Craig Whyte has moved to reassure ‘blues brothers’ everywhere that his controversial decision is “the most practical way to safeguard the long-term future of the club”.
Rangers have an outstanding tax bill of around £49 million, which could rise as high as £75 million because of interest and penalties.
Entering administration will entail a “formal restructuring process” of the current Scottish league champion’s finances.
Speaking to Sky TV last night, Mr Whyte said: “There’s no way that Rangers can pay that tax bill.”When asked where the money has gone – considering the Ibrox club attracts massive support both home and away – Mr Whyte added: “I think there were some very hard spending days back in the early 2000s... but now we have to tighten our belts and live within our means.”
One of the club’s highest profile supporters in Northern Ireland is East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.
Mr Campbell said he was torn between his head and his heart on the matter. “The heart reaction is very sad – that a club with the history and tradition of Glasgow Rangers has at least started the process of going into administration.
“But the head, and a more logical conclusion, is that this is probably the only way out of the problem, in that there was never going to be any way of finding £50 million to clear the debt.”
When asked if he thought Rangers was too big to fail, Mr Campbell said: “I think it is inconceivable that there will not be a Glasgow Rangers Football Club.
“Rangers took 200,000 travelling supporters to Manchester for the 2008 UEFA Cup Final. No football club anywhere in Europe has ever attracted 200,000 supporters to an away game, so the scale of the club means there will be a Glasgow Rangers Football Club, whatever pain has to be gone through now,” added Mr Campbell.
If the club loses direct control of its financial affairs by entering administration then there will be an automatic 10-point deduction from its current league tally. And, if the administration process lasts more than one league season, then Rangers would begin the 2012-2013 season minus another 10 points.
Although the Scottish FA’s judicial panel has the power to terminate or suspend the membership of any club entering administration, this has never happened.
Yesterday afternoon the club chairman issued a statement thanking supporters for their continuing commitment to Rangers.
The statement pledged a Rangers recovery from the current situation and said the club will be “the force in football that the fans deserve”.