Administrators for Rangers Football Club, the Scottish soccer champions, are seeking to recover 3.6 million pounds ($5.7 million) from a London law firm in an effort to ensure the club’s survival.
Rangers, which went into administration last month as U.K. authorities pursued the owners for unpaid tax bills, must find 4.5 million pounds by the end of the season to continue operations, administrators Duff & Phelps has said.
The 3.6 million pounds was held by Collyer Bristow LLP, a law firm acting for club’s owner Craig Whyte. It is now in the hands of another firm, Taylor Wessing LLP, on behalf of the administrators while a dispute about who can access the money is resolved. U.K. tax authorities, a pension fund and Duff & Phelps are all claiming a share, a London court heard this morning.
Judge Nicholas Warren set a March 29 hearing to resolve the dispute.
“If we are successful in retrieving these funds that will help the recovery process of the club and will be an important step towards the club emerging from administration,” David Whitehouse, one of the administrators, said in an e-mailed statement. The firm is meeting with prospective bidders for the club, Whitehouse said.
Collyer Bristow spokesman Paul Newhall confirmed the firm acted for Craig Whyte and that it no longer held the money. He declined to comment further.
The Scottish Football Association said on its website today an independent inquiry of its board found that Whyte “is not considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a position within association football” because of several rules breaches by the club and owner.
SFA Chief Executive Stewart Regan said Rangers face a charge of bringing the game into disrepute over its financial situation and added the administrators have been sent a letter about possible disciplinary action over the club’s failure to make payments to Dundee United from their recent Scottish Cup match.