Friday, June 22, 2012

Rangers in crisis: judge puts administrators Duff and Phelps under report

Rangers’ administrators Duff and Phelps were on Friday ordered to prove there is no conflict of interest over their role at the club.

By Telegraph Sport
Rangers in crisis: judge puts administrators Duff and Phelps under report

Case for defence: David Whitehouse (left) said allegations of a conflict of interest were "wrong and grossly misleading" Photo: PA

The move, ordered by Lord Hodge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, came after a recent BBC documentary raised concerns about the issue.

Lord Hodge said he took no view about the BBC programme but he said Duff and Phelps should produce a report showing they had obtained and acted on legal advice on the question of conflict of interest.

Lord Hodge said he had done nothing until now because he did not want to hinder the process of Rangers going into liquidation.

He told the accountants’ lawyers: “There is considerable public interest in this jurisdiction in relation to the administration.

“I do not want the administration to come to an end without having received that report.”

The report demanded by Lord Hodge is expected to be ready in three weeks and a further court hearing is likely to be arranged after that.

David Whitehouse, joint administrator, said in a statement: “We welcome the decision by Lord Hodge today. Producing this report for Lord Hodge will give us an opportunity to demonstrate that the allegation of conflict of interest by the BBC was wrong and grossly irresponsible.

“We have a well-established conflict checking procedure which was fully adhered to and there was no reason for us not to accept the role as administrators. It should be remembered that HMRC withdrew their application to appoint administrators to enable us to do the job. We maintain there is no conflict of interest.

“We are also co-operating fully with the investigation announced by the Insolvency Practitioners Association and we look forward to that inquiry been concluded as soon as possible. We have also referred the BBC allegations to our solicitors.”

Rangers subsequently announced on Friday they will extend the season ticket deadline to Wednesday, July 11.

A statement read: "In the event that we are not playing in the SPL, pricing will be reviewed and adjusted accordingly and refunds paid to season ticket holders who have already committed.

"The club will process the first of four direct debit payments.

"However this payment will be taken on July 6 rather than June 29 as previously communicated.

"The amounts remain unchanged at this point in time from the amount indicated to all direct debit season ticket holders in their confirmation letter.

"However, any subsequent payments will be reduced to take account of any movement in price as a result of playing in an alternative league.

"Fans should also be assured that all season ticket money will be held in an account that will go directly to the club."

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne has denied reports that his club will vote against newco Rangers' application to join the Scottish Premier League.

The Dons chief claims a decision has yet to be made on how they will cast their vote in a general meeting of all 12 top-flight clubs on July 4.

Hearts and Dundee United on Thursday revealed plans to reject Rangers' SPL bid, while Motherwell will ballot fans on the issue.

An 8-4 majority is required, with speculation mounting that Charles Green's newco could drop down to the Irn-Bru First Division - as opposed to the Third Division - should they fail to gain enough backing.

In a statement on the club's website, Aberdeen chairman Milne said: "Contrary to reports, AFC has still to reach a final decision regarding the 4th July vote on the Rangers newco.

"This is a critical decision which will have major implications for all clubs and the future of Scottish football.

"The views of our fans and the issue of sporting integrity will clearly be a major influencing factor in our decision-making."

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has been given a two-match ban following remarks he made about a referee, although one of those games is suspended until the end of the forthcoming season.

The punishment was the result of comments Shiels made about an official following a meeting between Celtic and St Johnstone in April.

A potential fans buy-out of St Mirren has been put on hold as they await further clarity over the future of Scottish football.

The 10000Hours group have tabled a bid with the selling consortium to buy a 52 per cent shareholding in the Paisley club.

However, the offer is subject to "certain conditions relating to commercial revenues" meaning both parties will wait until after the July 4 vote of top-flight clubs which will determine whether newco Rangers will be granted entry to the Scottish Premier League.



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