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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 18:29 UK

Massone sells up to depart Livi

Angelo Massone
Massone had refused an earlier offer to leave Livingston

Angelo Massone is no longer the owner of Livingston Football Club after he agreed a deal to sell his shares to the West Lothian outfit's new investors.

Gordon McDougall and Neil Rankine persuaded the Italian businessman to accept £50,000 for his shares.

The club chairman had earlier this week turned down an offer of half that amount from the club's interim manager.

Donald McGruther on Thursday struck a deal with McDougall and Rankine to finance the club for the new season.

McGruther had started the process of putting the club into liquidation on Wednesday after Massone had refused to sell his shares.

The interim manager had been appointed by the Court of Session last week after West Lothian Council took action to recover a £330,000 debt.

McGruther concluded that the club were "hopelessly insolvent" and said Massone must sell his shareholding to allow a full takeover that would enable the club to survive.

It has been the most difficult negotiations I have ever been involved in, but it's over now

Neil Rankine

However, despite the chairman's refusal to sell up, McGruther agreed a rescue package with former Cowdenbeath owner Gordon McDougall and former Dumbarton chairman Rankine.

The pair agreed to fund the club for a year and McGruther gave the Scottish Football League sufficient guarantees on Thursday to allow Livingston to continue in Division One for the coming season.

McDougall, however, told BBC Scotland that Massone must leave the club and that discussions would continue with the Italian.

Now Livi's two financial backers have persuaded Massone to sell his shares so a formal takeover can take place.

McDougall and Rankine are being assisted by former Livingston director Ged Nixon, who is currently head of supporters group Livi For Life.

Meanwhile, Massone described his season with Livingston as a "fantastic experience" and did not rule out being involved with a Scottish football club in the future.

He said that refusing the first offer from McGruther had been part of his strategy to save the club.

Rankine added: "I've never met a character like Massone. It has been the most difficult negotiations I have ever been involved in, but it's over now."

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see also
Clubs angry with SFL over Livi
31 Jul 09 |  Scottish League
Bollan to be named Livi manager
31 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Livingston saved from liquidation
30 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Year ban for Livingston chairman
30 Jul 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Fans urge Livi owner to sell up
28 Jul 09 |  Livingston
McDougall resigns to help Livi
25 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Livi to go into administration
24 Jul 09 |  Livingston
McDougall outlines plan for Livi
26 Jun 09 |  Livingston

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