Rangers administration: What Craig Whyte said

CRAIG WHYTE’S latest statement threw up some interesting comments. Here, we provide the key points from it.

On Ticketus...

“The arrangement with Ticketus – which was a three-season deal NOT four, as has been reported – was originally to provide additional working capital as had been the case previously under the old board. My corporate advisors came to me with the proposition that it was entirely possible, as well as highly beneficial, to negotiate a deal with Ticketus that would allow us to complete the takeover and maximise working capital for the club’s day-to-day business.

“The Ticketus deal was by far the best way to protect the club given the circumstances in that they have no security over any assets. The only person at risk from the deal is me personally because I gave Ticketus personal and corporate guarantees underwriting their investment; the club and the fans are fully protected.

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“In terms of exposure, I am personally on the line for £27.5 million in guarantees and cash.

On his role...

“Despite the frenzy of media speculation and misinformation, everything I have done has been with the best interest of this football club at heart. Any suggestion that I am trying to make a fast buck or have indulged in illegal manoeuvring is clearly ludicrous.”

On tax payments since he took over...

“It is simply not true to say that Rangers or I have reneged on paying these liabilities since the takeover. The truth is that around £4.4 million of the £9 million demand is, in fact, the ‘wee tax case’, including penalties, and which is in dispute. We offered to pay £2.5 million of the PAYE and VAT up front with the remainder at £500,000 a month, but HMRC flatly rejected that.

“On the big tax case – and, of course, no one yet knows whether that has been won or lost or how much the liability would be – we wanted HMRC to confirm that they would accept repayments of £2.5 million a year if we lost. But again they said, ‘No”’.

On administration...

“The fact is that Rangers, had they not gone administration now for the reasons I have given, would have done so some time in the future whoever the owner was because they could not go on funding losses of up to £15 million a year. People seem to forget that the previous board under Alastair Johnston were talking seriously about administration two years ago. If things had turned out differently with HMRC, then I seriously believe I had the correct plan that would have avoided administration and put Rangers back on a sound financial footing.

On the future...

“If I can succeed in coming through this administration process I am very keen on the idea of gifting the majority of my shares to a supporters’ foundation. It makes a lot of sense, but fan ownership would work only after the current process is completed because the club has to get into a position where it is running at break-even in order for that prospect to be viable.

“I will not continue as Rangers chairman post-restructuring. Regardless of administration and irrespective of the tax case, the club had serious long-term structural problems financially and they needed to be addressed with some urgency. I knew that when I stepped up to the plate and, despite the accusations and abuse that I have suffered over weeks and months, I was determined to see things through. I will admit there have been times when I have wished that I had never entertained the idea of taking over Rangers.