Rangers owner Craig Whyte considering gifting shares to supporters

 

Rangers owner Craig Whyte has vowed to step down as chairman once the club emerges from administration.

The Scottish champions were forced to call in the administrators last Tuesday over an unpaid tax bill of £9million accrued since Whyte's takeover of Sir David Murray's majority shareholding last May.

Rangers are also awaiting the outcome of the first tier tax tribunal - the so-called 'big tax case' - relating to Employee Benefit Trusts payments made during Murray's regime, which was initially believed could result in a bill of £49million, although Whyte has claimed the amount could be as much as £75million.

As well as stepping down as chairman, Whyte has also indicated he will consider the possibility of "gifting" the majority of his shares to supporters.

Speaking in a statement yesterday, he said: "I will not continue as Rangers chairman post-restructuring.

"Regardless of administration and irrespective of the tax case, the club had serious long-term structural problems financially and they needed to be addressed with some urgency.

"I knew that when I stepped up to the plate and, despite the accusations and abuse that I have suffered over weeks and months, I was determined to see things through.

"I will admit there have been times when I have wished that I had never entertained the idea of taking over Rangers.

"But I am a Rangers fan, and, like other Rangers fans, I don't do walking away."

He added: "If I can succeed in coming through this administration process I am very keen on the idea of gifting the majority of my shares to a supporters' foundation.

"It makes a lot of sense, but fan ownership would work only after the current process is completed because the club has to get into a position where it is running at break-even in order for that prospect to be viable.

"I am open to all serious offers of outside investment. Indeed, I am currently in active discussion with a number of potential bidders and investors."

Administrators Duff and Phelps confirmed yesterday that money from the Ticketus deal was used by Whyte to complete his takeover of the club.

The firm paid £24million to secure the right to sell future season tickets.

According to the administrators, the cash was used by Whyte to pay the club's £18million debt to Lloyds Banking Group when he completed his takeover.

David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said in a statement: "Following information received, it is now apparent that the proceeds from the Ticketus arrangements amounted initially to a sum in the region of £20million plus VAT.

"Subsequently, £18million was transferred to the Lloyds Banking Group.

"The application of the remainder of these proceeds is subject to further examination.

"We are now investigating all the circumstances surrounding both the purchase of the majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club plc and the flow of funds which stemmed from the transaction and were intended to fulfil the purchasers' obligations at the time of the sale."

Whyte said of the Ticketus deal: "The arrangement with Ticketus - which was a three-season deal not four, as has been reported - was originally to provide additional working capital as had been the case previously under the old board.

"My corporate advisors came to me with the proposition that it was entirely possible, as well as highly beneficial, to negotiate a deal with Ticketus that would allow us to complete the takeover and maximise working capital for the club's day-to-day business.

"The Ticketus deal was by far the best way to protect the club given the circumstances in that they have no security over any assets.

"The only person at risk from the deal is me personally because I gave Ticketus personal and corporate guarantees underwriting their investment; the club and the fans are fully protected.

"In terms of exposure, I am personally on the line for £27.5million in guarantees and cash."

However, in an open letter on the Rangers official website on January 31, Whyte gave an account of his takeover which was widely interpreted as an assurance Ticketus funds were not in any way used.

He said at the time: "I can categorically assure supporters that when I launched a takeover bid for the club it was funded entirely from one of my companies and that was demonstrated clearly to the satisfaction of the previous owner, Lloyds Banking Group and professional advisers."

McKay joined Rangers from Brisbane Roar in August for a fee after captaining his former side to the A-League title.

However, the Australia midfielder, who had been voted his country's player of the year, made only three first-team appearances for Rangers.

The 29-year-old had a brief spell in South Korea in 2006 when he joined Incheon United on loan during the Australian close season.

Administrators have not announced any job cuts at Rangers since being appointed on Valentine's Day and have said redundancies are not inevitable, according to manager Ally McCoist.

The administrators have so far focused on probing recent financial dealings around the club, yesterday confirming that owner Craig Whyte had paid off an £18million debt to Lloyds Banking Group with money raised from future season ticket sales.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there