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SBD Global/March 26, 2013/Franchises

Scottish First Division Dunfermline Owner To Announce Club's Fate Tuesday

Scottish First Division Dunfermline AFC Owner Gavin Masterton "will not announce the future for the financially stricken club until Tuesday," according to STV. The club "faces being wound-up" over a £134,000 ($203,000) tax bill and options put forward include "voluntarily going in to administration or being liquidated." Masterton and the Dunfermline board "met non-footballing staff at the club’s East End Park stadium on Monday morning to update them." The club owner "will make a statement on the club’s future on Tuesday" -- after the 5pm deadline to settle the bill from U.K. tax authority HMRC (STV, 3/25). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Masterton is "continuing to look for a solution amid major cash flow problems." Dunfermline Football Dir Jim Leishman said, "Nothing has changed from last week. The options include administration or liquidation. I'm just an employee of the football club -- Gavin Masterton is in charge of the club's future" (DAILY RECORD, 3/25). In Dundee, Neil Robertson reported Leishman announced the club had reached “the end of the road,” and the ball was once again in Masterton’s court. Leishman said that the steering group "had investors in place willing to pay off the tax man and help the club through to the end of the season." However, having completed due diligence on the club’s books, "there were concerns about the long-term viability of the club in its present form" (THE COURIER, 3/25).

KEEPING THE FAITH: In Edinburgh, Iain Collin reported Dunfermline Chair John Yorkston insisted the club’s beleaguered board "had not given up hope." Liquidation has "always appeared the most likely scenario" if the HMRC liability could not be settled, but the possibility of voluntary administration "has also now been tabled as the Fifers’ board desperately try to cling to survival." And Yorkston insisted that "everything was under consideration by Masterton." Yorkston said: "We are not giving up, and we’ll hold more meetings on Monday. We’ve got to look at everything. The worst option for the club is liquidation. None of the folk I know want that, certainly none of the people that I’ve been involved in the talks with. Administration is also an option, but at the moment so is somebody else coming in at the 11th hour" (SCOTSMAN, 3/25).

OFFERING SUPPORT: In London, Brian Marjoribanks reported Dunfermline goalkeeper Paul Gallacher "accused the game’s governing bodies of standing back and allowing the 128-year-old club to wither and die." Gallacher, who lives in Dunfermline, said that "he has witnessed first-hand the heartache being suffered by Dunfermline fans at the imminent collapse of their local team." He admits to "having been stunned by what he perceives as a lack of help" from the Scottish Football League and Scottish FA for a club clearly "dying on its knees." Gallacher said, "Should the governing bodies be helping this club survive? They've not done a thing yet, have they? Nobody has helped at all. The league won’t help. It seems there are no (rules) in place for them to do anything for us, so it’s been left to us to try and turn this sorry sight around" (DAILY MAIL, 3/24).
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