Dunfermline: Masterton hands shares to administrator

DUNFERMLINE Athletic owner Gavin Masterton has handed his shares in the club over to administrator Bryan Jackson in a move described as “essential” to the crisis-hit Pars’ survival hopes.

Experienced trouble-shooter Jackson, now in charge of the East End Park outfit’s finances and operations, praised the under-fire businessman, insisting the handover would make his job considerably easier.

The Irn-Bru First Division side were placed in interim administration last week after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs lodged a winding-up order over a £134,000 tax bill.

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The administration process protects them from the taxman’s attempts but the Pars still owe about £8.5 million to Masterton and other companies.

Former Bank of Scotland executive Masterton – who owns 94 per cent of the club – has now given up his majority shareholding, saying he hopes the move “will help the club rebuild for the future”.

He has faced supporter protests after taking the 128-year-club to the brink of disaster.

Masterton said: “For those of us who love this club, anything which can be done to facilitate its future survival must be done.

“I have given my life to DAFC over the last few years and I hope that this move is one of many actions which need to be done swiftly to allow Bryan Jackson to more effectively do his job as the administrator.

“I appreciate that the fans will also be doing their best for the club and hope that we can all work together to ensure DAFC is still around for another 128 years.”

Jackson – working for accountants BDO – added: “I am grateful to Mr Masterton for handing over his shares.

“This will make the process of administration considerably easier and this action, along with the decision by various supporters and business organisations to unite behind the club in the Pars United group, gives me some hope that we can have a positive outcome from the administration process.

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“I would echo Mr Masterton and Pars United in encouraging all fans, and the wider community, to get behind the club in any way that they can.

“We are also pleased to announce that we have been able to provide a small advance on April’s wages to all players and staff from the generous donations received by fans and benefactors since the announcement of the interim administration.”

Jackson was forced to make assistant manager Gerry McCabe and seven first-team players redundant last week.

Dunfermline will discover next week how many points they will be stripped by the Scottish Football League after going into interim administration, confirmed Jackson, has been told to report to Hampden next Tuesday at 3.30pm.

The SFL will consider potential prize money payments Dunfermline are due, any unfair advantage they may have gained in the past as a result of not servicing their debts and how the situation has affected other clubs before making their final decision.

Said Jackson yesterday: “I met with David Longmuir and Jim Ballantyne this morning. It was the usual amicable chat – that is until we get to the penalties.

“I fought our corner and gave them the background of where we are and appealed for leniency. I know how it all works and I know what they will consider.

“I understand why there has to be sanctions, not that I necessarily agree with it. But we are working together now as best we can.”