Dunfermline escape liquidation as challenge fails

Dunfermline avoided liquidation after a court rejected a motion from former owner Gavin Masterton. Picture: Getty
Dunfermline avoided liquidation after a court rejected a motion from former owner Gavin Masterton. Picture: Getty
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FANS’ group Pars United are set to complete their takeover of Dunfermline early next week after the club came within minutes of being forced into liquidation by a legal challenge from former owner Gavin Masterton.

Masterton’s petition for an interim interdict took the East End Park outfit to the brink of oblivion on Friday as he challenged Pars United’s attempt to break the club’s lease over their Pitreavie training ground.

During around four hours of discussion in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, representatives of insolvency experts BDO, who took over the running of the club following the descent into administration in March, warned that liquidation would follow on Monday if the lease remained in place – or if no decision was made yesterday.

Pars United had insisted they would not sign the paperwork to take over ownership of the club if Masterton’s move had been successful, and that being forced to take on the liability of the lease was a “deal breaker”.

Lawyers for BDO also told the court that the club’s funding had run out and it was down to a stark choice between liquidation or the judge rejecting the petition and Pars United taking over. However, after breaking to deliberate, Lord Woolman refused Masterton’s petition, leaving the way clear for Pars United to implement the Company Voluntary Arrangement agreed back in July and take over from the administrators, possibly as early as Monday.

Leaving court, Pars United member Ross McArthur confessed the club had come within a whisker of being forced into liquidation as he expressed his relief at the judge’s decision.

The businessman said: “We’re delighted with the result. It’s been a long couple of days, because it means a lot to a lot of people. We can now go forward, speak to our legal advisors over the weekend and we hope to be in a position to conclude matters on Monday or Tuesday of next week. We can all move forward with a bit of certainty now.”