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06 December 2023

UK tax body seeks to speed up Rangers administration

By Reuters

Britain's tax authorities took Scottish champions Rangers to court on Tuesday to try to put the club straight into administration rather than giving them breathing space to deal with their financial crisis. 

The Glasgow club gave formal notification to the same court on Monday that they were likely to go into administration within 10 days in a move that sent shockwaves through British soccer. 

The response by the tax body is effectively an attempt to take control of the process, rather than allow the club to call the shots. 

Administration would mean Rangers being docked 10 points and effectively hand the Scottish Premier League title to city rivals Celtic, who are four points ahead of them.  

Rangers, one of the best-supported teams in Britain, have  cash-flow problems exacerbated by a tax dispute that could cost them more than 50 million pounds ($79 million) to settle. 

A spokesman for HM Revenue & Customs confirmed that there would be a court hearing on Tuesday, but gave no further details citing client confidentiality. 

The focus for the tax authorities is believed to be unpaid payroll taxes, rather than the larger dispute which is due to be settled by a tribunal. 

The "Old Firm" of Rangers and Celtic dominate the game in Scotland, with one of them having claimed the title every year since Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen won it in 1985. 

However, the 12-team Scottish Premier League is a poor relation of its English counterpart in terms of television revenue and sponsorship.