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Relief for Rangers as judge says club is financially secure

A JUDGE has insisted there is no real possibility Rangers will be insolvent early next year as he dismissed former commercial director Imran Ahmad's bid to have £620,000 of club assets ring-fenced.

LORD ARMSTRONG: Said there was little chance of insolvency.
LORD ARMSTRONG: Said there was little chance of insolvency.

During the action at the Court of Session, lawyers for Mr Ahmad, who left the club in April last year, pointed to uncertainty over season ticket sales which they had argued created a risk of insolvency.

They repeated claims, made yesterday as the Union of Fans (UoF) launched a move to pool withheld season ticket money, that only around 2000 season tickets had been sold to date.

But Rangers QC Alan Summers indicated that even if Rangers' season-ticket sales slump, other funds were available to avoid the prospect of the club going into administration.

Mr Ahmad, who is seeking the £620,000 in compensation from the club, says he is entitled to 5% of commercial contracts negotiated by him subject to written approval from the chief executive or chairman.

The judge's comments come less than six weeks after auditors Deloitte warned a possible fans' boycott could jeopardise the club's ability to keep trading as Rangers International Football Club plc (RIFC) reported losses of £3.5 million in the six months to December 31.

Rangers chairman David Somers said the suggestion season ticket money could be diverted created a "material uncertainty which may cast doubt" over the operating company's ability to continue as a going concern.

But Mr Summers maintained that the source of revenue had not been "materially impacted" by events of the last few weeks.

He said chief executive Graham Wallace and the club's chief financial officer, Philip Nash, had been speaking to institutional investors in the City.

"Having seen the business plan the defenders have adopted they are content that the defenders are now being properly managed and have a future in which they have confidence," he said.

Mr Wallace forecast that there would be £2m income from season- ticket renewals over the next 10 to 14 days. That would amount to around 5500 sales. More than 72,000 season tickets have been sold in the past two seasons with an average attendance at games in the 2013/14 season of more than 40,000, the seventh highest in British football.

Judge Lord Armstrong said: "I appreciate that there is some scope for concern as to the financial future of the defenders."

But he added that, on the basis of the information that had been put before him: "It cannot be said there is a real possibility of the defender being insolvent [in early 2015 when any potential liability would fall due]."

Lord Armstrong said he was informed institutional investors had "a good degree of confidence" in the management and were fully aware of difficulties.

"It is in effect confirmation that the defender is financially secure and will remain so for the foreseeable future," he said.

Yesterday the Rangers board reacted angrily to the launch of the Ibrox 1972 Fund for season ticket money launched by the UoF, former director Dave King and club legend Richard Gough.

They aim to withhold pooled season ticket money until Rangers directors give them security over Ibrox Stadium.

But the board hit back, saying they will not grant security over Ibrox to anyone.

Meanwhile former Rangers manager Alex McLeish has backed Mr King's bid to intervene with offers of investment, but stopped short of endorsing the plan for supporters to withhold season-ticket money.

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