Rangers administration: Mass job losses are not inevitable - McCoist

Fans poke fun at Rangers with an HMRC-sponsored shirt. Picture: SNS
Fans poke fun at Rangers with an HMRC-sponsored shirt. Picture: SNS
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RANGERS manager Ally McCoist remains hopeful job losses will be kept to a minimum as the club’s administrators continue to carry out a review of staff.

Joint administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse did not make any immediate cuts after their company Duff and Phelps took control of the Scottish champions on Tuesday.

Brian Donohoe: Number of clubs appear to avoided tax

Brian Donohoe: Number of clubs appear to avoided tax

McCoist has so far been able to retain all the players at his disposal, players that were unable to avoid a 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday.

And the Rangers boss hopes his personnel will not be too drastically affected by the club’s precarious financial situation as dialogue remains ongoing with the administrators.

McCoist said: “One of the things the administrators have said is that cuts, people losing their jobs, isn’t inevitable.

“They have said it’s a possibility but it’s not inevitable. That in itself I would find encouraging.

“That’s not to say that it won’t happen but I think it gives everybody hope. In the grand scheme of things that is one of, if not the, most important things.”

Reports yesterday that the club could be given many years to repay its tax bill were dealt a blow last night as sources said such a deal could not be reached.

Experts told The Scotsman such a deal would be impossible while an ongoing tax tribunal has yet to rule on what the final bill might be.

HMRC took legal action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh over an alleged £9 million in unpaid PAYE and VAT.

Rangers could also face a £49m tax bill once the tax tribunal decision is made. Club chairman Craig Whyte has warned the liability could be as high as £75m.

Only once the tribunal reaches a ruling could a repayment scheme be worked out.

Meanwhile, politicians have called for Rangers’ current and former owners to face a parliamentary scrutiny.

Allegations of fraud have been submitted to Strathclyde Police and the Scottish Football Association have launched their own investigations.

Now Brian Donohoe, Labour MP for Central Ayrshire and secretary of the Westminster Rangers Supporters Club, wants the Treasury Select Committee to question Mr Whyte and potentially his predecessor, Sir David Murray.

He also wanted the inquiry broadened out to include other teams, several English football clubs facing tax investigations.

Mr Donohoe said: “There has to be some form of parliamentary inquiry into football finances. A number of clubs appear to have used tax avoidance devices.

“In the case of Rangers, there’s a tremendous amount that went on before Craig Whyte bought the club that nobody knows about. On that basis any inquiry needs to look into both Sir David Murray and Craig Whyte’s running of it.”

Tory MP Pauline Latham agreed: “I strongly believe that once the investigations are completed by HMRC into football clubs and their use of Employee Benefit Trusts this is definitely an issue that needs to be looked at by a Select Committee.”

And Labour MSP Graeme Pearson said: “The people who pay their money at the turnstiles need to know exactly what happened to it. Football needs to get its house in order.”

Celtic went 17 points clear of Rangers yesterday with a 5-0 win against Hibernian at Easter Road, capping a disastrous week for the Ibrox side’s supporters.

There was little sympathy from Celtic fans as they unfurled a banner depicting their strip with the sponsor HMRC.

Mr Clark said on Saturday the administrators had received information related to money and transactions related to Rangers and expected to provide further details in the coming week. They described the failure to hand over £9 million in PAYE and VAT to the taxman as potentially illegal.

“The simplest way of looking at it is that these taxes would ordinarily be paid one month after the deductions. It’s more complex than that. But some of these taxes go back many, many months,” Mr Clark said.

“We have received some information overnight in relation to various monies and various transactions in relation to Rangers FC. We’re going to be looking at all of that information over the coming days and we expect to give some form of announcement during the course of next week.

“We have been receiving information from many channels, but we have received some information overnight from solicitors who have previously been connected with the football club.

“It’s in relation to several transactions in relation to the takeover and other issues in relation to the financial affairs of the club over the past few months.

“We remain confident there will be a successful outcome for the football club. Exactly what shape that will take remains uncertain.”

Ibrox witnessed its biggest crowd of the season on Saturday as 50,268 fans flocked to the match to demonstrate their backing for the manager and players. A seat was left empty for Mr Whyte but fans made it clear they wanted him to stay away.

McCoist said of the fans: “The support was unbelievable. I was sitting upstairs in the office at 1.30pm and the noise outside was incredible.

“The fans were everything we expected them to be. I’m just gutted we couldn’t get them the win.

“We need everybody to stick together and be positive and if we do that, we’ve got a real fighting chance.”