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Masterton comes to the aid of Fifers

Dunfermline Athletic have avoided the immediate threat of a winding-up order after clearing their debts to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs with the aid of a fresh injection of cash from majority shareholder Gavin Masterton.

Masterton's investment, described by the East End Park club as a "further loan", has allowed the Fifers to pay off the remainder of an initial £81,000 tax bill they were unable to meet late last year, plus at least £70,000 of penalties that resulted from the arrears.

It is expected Masterton's latest investment will also allow the outstanding staff wages for December, including those of manager Jim Jefferies and his backroom team, to be brought up to date and for the PAYE and National Insurance payments due early next week to be settled.

Dunfermline – whose game with Cowdenbeath today has been called off – have been struggling with serious cash-flow problems since October, resulting in salaries for staff and players for each of the past three months being met in instalments.

A payment plan was struck with HMRC for their "historical" debts to be cleared this month, with sources suggesting that the failure to fulfil the agreement could have led to HMRC requesting a court order to impose administration or liquidation on the Fife club.

The club are now in the final stages of piecing together a share issue that, following the success of a similar scheme at Hearts in generating an investment of £1.05m, Dunfermline directors are optimistic will raise between £300,000 and £500,000. In their New Year message to supporters, the board warned of a "couple of bumpy months ahead" but they will be hopeful that paying off HMRC will at least bring the club back to a sounder footing as they attempt to see out the season.

A club spokesperson said: "Following receipt of a further loan from the Masterton family, we are pleased to advise that all historical arrears due to HMRC have now been cleared."

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