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Scottish Leagues

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Debt picture improves in Scotland

Scottish football has been through a very challenging time financially with leading clubs such as Rangers and Hearts facing major challenges.   Smaller clubs have also found it difficult to make ends meet given low attendances, a lack of sponsorship, limited television revenue and the cost of travelling to many away games.

However, this interesing article suggests that the picture is improving, although many challenges remain. 

Rangers deny administration rumours

Rangers have rejected internet rumours that the club will enter administration for a second time on Wednesday, but faced demands from supporters to answer claims that former chief executive Charles Green still has influence within the club.

A spokesman for the club said last night: “There is absolutely no truth in these claims [about the club facing administration], which appear to come from agenda-driven bloggers who are out to damage the club. There is no chance of administration while there is no board meeting tomorrow. This is all completely false.”

Rangers fans back season ticket boycott

The Union of Fans, a coalition of six Rangers supporters groups, has backed a call from former Ibrox director and South African businessman Dave King to withhold season ticket money for 2014/15 until assurances are given about the club's future. They want the club to have a sound financial structure. The money would be held in a trust fund.

Last week Rangers were forced to take out a £1.5m million loan from two major shareholders to help pay for simply existing on a daily basis. There are fears that the club could face a second spell in administration.

Dundee United clear debt

Dundee United have completed a major restructuring of its financial position. Following negotiations, the club has reached a settlement with its bankers, Bank of Scotland, to close off its debt position. At peak the sum owed was £6m.

It represents a major coup for chairman Stephen Thompson and his family. Now, after complex and lengthy negotiations the chairman and his family have been able to wipe out the remaining three million, plus an overdraft that stood at around the £1 million mark.

Hearts closer to exiting administration

Hearts should be out of administration before the end of April after a deal to transfer shares to prospective owners Foundation of Hearts was finalised. The club’s administrators, BDO, confirmed today that Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG) have formally agreed to hand over their 50 per cent stake, pending legal approval in Lithuania.

Things look up for Raith

They'll be dancing in the streets of Raith after the annual general meeting of Raith Rovers reported an improved financial picture. The Kirkcaldy club is supported by former prime minister Gordon Brown who is the local MP.

The club presented its annual accounts for the year to June 2013, which showed a profit of £81,350 – the first time the club has returned a profit since the formation of New Raith Rovers in 2005.

Rangers players turn down pay cuts

The Rangers squad was asked on Thursday to consider pay cuts of around 15% until summer 2015 as cost-cutting begins in earnest at Ibrox. The request, put to the players as a possible alternative to some having to be sold, was widely rejected.

One objection that is understood to have been raised in a dressing room discussion is that the directors making the proposal were still on full pay and were in part responsible for the club's current problems.

Rangers board sees off challenge

As anticipated, the Rangers board has seen off a challenge by rebel shareholders. The board defeated attempts by a group of shareholders led by former chairman Malcolm Murray to gain seats, with a comfortable majority.

About 1,800 shareholders greeted the club's board with chants of 'out, out, out' at the AGM which was held on a specially constructed stage at Ibrox stadium.

About a third of shareholders voted against the reappointment of finance director Brian Stockbridge - the only remaining director of the club's original board. His long-term future remains unclear, however.

Rangers board should survive

Shareholders will vote at an annual general meeting on Thursday to choose between Rangers' current board and a requisition group led by Paul Murray and Malcolm Murray.

The current board are thought to be safe. Sandy Easdale, who holds 26.62 per cent of the shares, Laxey Partners (an Isle of Man hedge fund with 11.64 per cent of the shares), Artemis, Mike Ashley and Richard Hughes of Zeus Partners will back the current leadership. Their votes would produce a total of 54.67 per cent.

Football club uses crowdfunding

The first club in the UK to use crowdfunding as a means of raising revenue to improve facilities at its ground and grow its fan base has generated £10,000 in the first week. Scottish League One club, East Fife FC is using a novel form of investment that seeks to attract small sums from a large number of people to raise, up to £100,000 to fund the development of a new club shop, a bar/café and a 750 seater-stand.