Dave King steps down at Rangers and new funding on hold due to coronavirus pandemic

Chairman brings forward his depature as Douglas Park takes interim charge

New Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park, right, with Dave King, left, and manager Steven Gerrard.
New Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park, right, with Dave King, left, and manager Steven Gerrard.

Dave King has brought forward his departure from the Rangers board of directors and revealed plans for new funding in the club have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The South Africa-based businessman had initially announced his intention to step down as chairman of Rangers at the club’s annual general meeting last November.

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King intended to remain at the helm until new investment was secured, with Japan-based property funding businessman Stuart Gibson emerging this month as the man ready to commit to a £20 million share issue at the Ibrox club.

But the Covid-19 global crisis has suspended those plans, while King’s own commitments to his South African business interests have prompted him to accelerate his exit from the day-to-day running of Rangers.

Deputy chairman Douglas Park will take interim charge until a new chairman is elected at the next meeting of the Rangers board.

In a lengthy statement, King revealed Rangers have formed a “task team” to navigate the club through the financial uncertainty of the ongoing suspension of the football industry.

“The new management structure is now fully in place with all key appointments being filled,” said King, who secured control of Rangers in 2015, three years after the club’s financial collapse.

“We now have the strongest executive team at the club since my first appointment to the board over 20 years ago.

“At my final board meeting in Glasgow on 14 March the board was close to finalising a new round of funding. However, this has been put on hold while the board considers the financial consequences of the rapidly evolving global impact of coronavirus. The subsequent severe developments within the sporting and general business environment – that have now resulted in global lockdowns – have necessitated that the careful financial planning assumptions presented on 14 March are revisited.

“In that regard we are no different from other football clubs and, indeed, the largest and smallest companies worldwide are all affected to varying degrees.

“The club has formed a task team that comprises executive management and that reports regularly into the board of RIFC. The priority of the task team is to ensure the wellbeing and health of all employees while simultaneously working with our fellow clubs, associations, stakeholders and government to ensure that the emotional and financial impact of this pandemic is mitigated as far as possible. We presently have extremely limited visibility on how the landscape will develop in the coming months but we will continue to keep our supporters and other stakeholders updated as matters progress. We are all in this together.

“It is unfortunate that my stepping down has coincided with the coronavirus crisis but I am relieved that our club has such stalwarts in place to deal with whatever comes our way.

“I considered the possibility of extending my time as chairman until the coronavirus crisis is over but that is not practically possible. After I returned to South Africa last week from the board meeting, I was mandated by the South African authorities to go into self-isolation for 14 days – which I am presently undergoing.

“The South African government does not have the financial resources to offer bailout facilities and it is up to us in the private sector to negotiate arrangements to best survive the months ahead. All of my businesses in South Africa are significantly impacted. I decided to pay all employees in full in order to reduce the financial hardship to them. I have also put together a task team that communicates on a daily basis to find ways to make arrangements with landlords, suppliers, creditors and other stakeholders to restructure our businesses for as long as is necessary (I estimate a minimum of six months) and, in doing so, prioritise the wellbeing of our employees and their families.

“This is a full-time task that leaves me no free time to make meaningful input to the Rangers task team - which, in any event, is dealing with a more structured and more benign local environment due to the ability of the UK government to offer meaningful financial support to distressed businesses and individuals.

“I thank all supporters, club management and the board for the magnificent support I received while guiding the club post regime change to put that specific crisis behind the club. It is a great pity that we now find ourselves part of this global crisis. The task team will continue to navigate the club through this difficult time while reporting to the full board.

“The deputy chairman, Douglas Park, will chair the board during the interim period and a new permanent chairman will be elected by the board at the next board meeting.”

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