DUNFERMLINE Athletic administrator Bryan Jackson is in discussions with two separate groups about a rescue package for the club, and aims to have a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in place sooner rather than later.
Jackson, of recovery specialist firm BDO, is also set to pay an outstanding debt to Hamilton Academical, which would enable Dunfermline to play in the Scottish Cup next season.
“We are in talks with a couple of interested parties about an early CVA,” Jackson said. “The position at the club is looking slightly more optimistic now.
“When I took over I would have said its chances of survival were four out of ten. Now, after a couple of good home games, I would put them at five out of ten.”
Jackson declined to name the two organisations interested in taking over the club and helping it out of administration via a CVA, but it is understood that no mega-rich white knights have materialised.
For a CVA to be accepted, creditors who are owed at least a total of 75 per cent of the club’s debts have to agree with the administrator’s pence-in-the-pound offer.
Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has traditionally voted against allowing CVAs for football clubs, in many cases ensuring that they are not voted through.
In this case, however, Dunfermline’s debt to HMRC of under £150,000 is less than two per cent of the total – so a “No” vote by the Revenue would need the backing of several other creditors if it were to succeed in blocking the club’s exit from administration.
Dunfermline are currently suspended from the Scottish Cup for as long as their debt to Hamilton remains unpaid, and the deadline for paying it is July if they are to compete in next season’s competition.
The club’s financial position has eased slightly in recent weeks, and Jackson understands that a sum due from the SFA could be diverted straight to Accies.
That would leave an outstanding sum of £2-3,000, which Jackson will be able to find from working capital.
His duties as an administrator mean he must assess whether paying that sum to get back into the Scottish Cup is a suitable use of Dunfermline’s money. If, for example, he reasoned that the club was unlikely to exist next season, there would be no point in buying the right to play in the cup.
However, on balance Jackson is minded to pay the debt on the grounds that involvement in the cup is a vital part of a senior football club’s season. A draw against a leading SPL team, for example, could easily bring in more than 30 or 40 times the amount of the debt.