Ravanelli tops cull list as Dundee slash costs

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Giovanni Di Stefano has branded the decision to release Fabrizio Ravanelli from Dundee as "senseless" and claims he was right to oppose the club being placed into administration.

The former Juventus, Middlesbrough and Derby striker was among the 20 members of football staff informed yesterday that they no longer had a job.

Di Stefano, whose application to be a director of Dundee is pending with the Scottish Football Association, played a major part in tempting Ravanelli to the club. He has been paying the player's wages and hotel expenses and claimed yesterday that his efforts should be enough to save the Italian striker from the expected cull.

Other high-earners such as Craig Burley, Fabian Caballero and Georgi Nemsadze were also among the first-team regulars told by the manager, Jim Duffy, that they no longer had a future at Dens Park. Juan Sara, Beto Carranza and Mark Robertson are the other first-team regulars to lose their jobs, along with backroom staff.

Other players forced to leave the club were Robbie Raeside, Kenny Cameron, Kevin Lee, Paul Mathers, Matt Engele, Steve Vanderdeyl and Barry Forbes.

Players who lost their jobs were told of the decision by Duffy when they arrived at Dens Park earlier yesterday. A club statement read: "Dundee Football Club regrets to inform that 20 football staff today lost their jobs in consequence of the club's move into administration.

"The players and back-room staff were told of the decision by manager Jim Duffy and director Jim Connor in meetings at Dens Park today."

Dundee were placed in the hands of the administrators Ernst & Young on Monday after revelations that the club's debts had reached £20m and that they were losing a further £100,000 per week. Di Stefano wanted to buy the club for a nominal £1 fee and take over the debts, but the owners, Peter and Jimmy Marr, said they were not convinced the Italian lawyer had the funds to achieve this.

However, Di Stefano remains adamant that Ravanelli should still be allowed to play for Dundee. "Ravanelli is paid by me and as far as I am concerned, he is still available for the manager to pick," he said. "For example, if a player like Nacho Novo offered to play for free, would they consider letting him go? I don't think so and that's what it comes down to.

"Or what if the Dundee Supporters Association decided to sponsor a player and pay his wages - would he be sacked as well?" Di Stefano asked. "It makes no sense and is one of the reasons why I was against administration in the first place."

Di Stefano, who has just arrived back in the country following a trip to Italy, added: "I must admit that I am surprised and a little aggravated that no one has taken the time or courtesy to speak to me about this as a director of the company. This is the first I have heard of these players being let go and I shall be making inquiries when I get back."

Ravanelli expressed a desire toi stay in Scotland, saying: "Giovanni di Stefano is willing to pay my wages in order for me to stay at Dundee. We will have a meeting in the next few days. I would like to remain at Dundee. I am very happy here - the people are very friendly. But if that's not possible I would like to remain in Scottish football because I believe it is a good competition."

Ernst & Young admit the decision to slash the wage bill by 45 per cent is only the beginning of a long fight for survival. Tom Burton, a corporate restructuring partner at Ernst & Young, said: "Our priority is to move the club as quickly as possible towards the position where it can survive as a going concern. We have taken the first step towards this end by ensuring that Dundee Football Club has sufficient playing staff to fulfil its commitments whilst taking action to significantly reduce the cost to the club.

"It is important to stress that this action only begins to address the challenges faced by the club," he added. "We have started the process of stemming these week-by-week losses but there remains considerable work to do to secure the long-term viability of Dundee Football Club.

"Administration does, however, give us the opportunity to take these necessary actions, and we are encouraged with the support being shown by creditors, staff, fans and Scottish football in general at this difficult time."