Rangers hit by 10-point deduction

Scottish giants forced to cede title to rivals Celtic as players' jobs put at risk after administrator is appointed

Rangers formally placed themselves into administration yesterday, as the brinkmanship between the club and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reached the Court of Session. The Ibrox side were immediately docked 10 points, leaving Celtic 14 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League, and all but certain to win their first title in four years.

Rangers had lodged their intention to appoint an administrator last Monday, which allowed them 10 days to negotiate with HMRC, which is owed £4.2m from a previous tax bill and penalties, £9m in unpaid taxes since Craig Whyte bought the club last May, and a potential bill of £36.5m, which could rise to £49m once penalties and interest are added on, when a tax tribunal reaches a verdict on Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts from 2001 to 2010. That decision is expected next month.

HMRC itself applied to the Court of Session in Edinburgh yesterday morning for an administrator to be appointed by the court. The judge responded by granting Rangers until 3.30pm to appoint their own administrator, and Paul Clark and David Whitehouse from the firm Duff and Phelps took control of the club in the afternoon. They will now seek to stabilise the cash flow – Whyte claims the club runs an annual £10m deficit – while trying to strike an agreement, called a Company Voluntary Arrangement, with the creditors to come back out of administration.

This course is considered unlikely, since HMRC has tended not to agree a CVA with football clubs, and the future is uncertain for the Ibrox side. The club also owes Whyte's company, The Rangers FC Group, £18m after he paid its debt to LloydsTSB Bank when he bought the club from Sir David Murray for £1 last May, and Ticketus, a finance firm which lent Rangers £24.4m against future season-ticket sales.

"We had hoped that continued dialogue with HMRC would mean that a decision on administration would not have to be taken for 10 days while all other avenues were explored," Whyte said. "It goes without saying that administrators will work towards a solution that will be in the interests of the club and its creditors. It remains our firm belief that the club's future can be secured and we hope this period of administration will be as short as possible."

As the secured creditor, it is theoretically possible for Whyte to arrange a pre-pack administration, where he receives the club's assets – the stadium, training ground, players and staff – in lieu of his debt, forms a new company and club, then applies for re-entry to the SPL, in the same manner as Leeds United did in England in 2007. There will be no return for the former owner, Sir David Murray, who expressed his regret at the turn of events, but also stressed that the club could not revert to his control.

"Words cannot express how disappointed I am," Murray said. "Contrary to recent press speculation, there is no legal mechanism for Murray International Holdings to reacquire the club."

Rangers remain nine points ahead of third-placed Motherwell, with the top two finishers reaching the Champions League qualifiers for next season. But if Rangers do notcome out of administration before 31 March, they will be unable to play in Europe next season, regardless of where they finish.

Many staff and players face losing their jobs. "The players are vulnerable," said Fraser Wishart, the PFA Scotland chief executive. "Under normal circumstances, contracts cannot be broken but administration changes all of that. Sadly, I've been through this process a number of times. The big difference here is the amount of money owed to the Revenue."

SPL top three

P/W/D/L/F/A/Pts

Celtic 26/21/2/3/53/16/65

*Rangers 26/19/4/3/51/15/51

Motherwell 25/12/6/7/31/29/42

*Rangers docked 10 points for entering administration

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate