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Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Friday, 4 March 2011

Plymouth Argyle go into administration

Administration 'best thing for club' - Stapleton

Plymouth Argyle have gone into administration following a meeting of the club's directors.

The League One outfit has appointed Brendan Guilfoyle of the P&A Partnership as its administrator.

An application by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs to present the club with a winding-up petition was turned down at a High Court hearing on Friday.

P&A say they are looking to find a buyer for the club, which has already been deducted 10 points, by 17 March.

"A number of interested parties have declared an interest in acquiring the club," a statement from the administrator said.

"It is imperative that a preferred bidder is identified who can provide ongoing funding by 17 March 2011 at the latest.

"The administrators are due to meet with Plymouth City Council on Monday, 7 March 2011 with a view to obtaining their assistance in securing the survival of the club."

HMRC applied for a winding-up petition as without it they feared they could lose out on money owed to them by the club because of the administration process.

HMRC does not initiate winding-up proceedings of football clubs lightly

HMRC statement

Normal administration procedure at football clubs sees secured creditors, including players and other clubs paid first and in full.

Whatever is left is then shared equally amongst the unsecured creditors, a group which includes HMRC.

By attempting to get a winding-up petition issued in the High Court, HMRC were hoping to prevent the application of the usual football creditor rules, thereby ensuring a greater share of the money for unsecured creditors.

A statement from HMRC said: "This afternoon Mr Justice Peter Smith dismissed HMRC's application for permission to present a petition for the compulsory winding-up of Plymouth Argyle Football Club Ltd.

"During the hearing, the court learned that the directors had appointed administrators to take the club forward. HMRC is now considering the judgment, but will not be appealing.

"HMRC does not initiate winding-up proceedings of football clubs lightly. However we will not hesitate to do so when that is the right way to protect the country's tax revenues and other creditors from those who trade whilst insolvent and run up debts that they simply cannot pay."

BBC Sport's Matt Slater, who spent the day in the High Court, said: "HMRC were asking the judge for special dispensation because they know that football isn't usual as there's a football creditors rule which means certain creditors are treated with a special status.

Matt Slater on events at the High Court

"HMRC will continue to push on with their challenge to the Premier League and Football League's creditors so there's two things happening here - the Plymouth Argyle situation and the bigger picture."

Plymouth's board took the decision to enter administration at a meeting on Friday, having issued a 'notice of intention' to appoint an administrator on Monday, 21 February.

The 'notice of intention' protected Argyle from creditors for 10 days, including HMRC, who are currently owed £300,000.

Plymouth director Paul Stapleton told BBC Spotlight: "We had to do the best thing for the football club to make sure it survived and there was only one outcome really and that was to enter administration.

"We've all taken a hit, we understand that, it's part of life. There's creditors out there who have taken hits, the staff haven't been paid, the players haven't been paid and we don't take any joy in that."

Insolvency expert Guy Thomas, from SA Law, warned that going into administration would not necessarily secure the club's long-term future.

Thomas told BBC Sport: "Guilfoyle has been appointed to try and find the best result for creditors.

"His first problem will be to establish if there is enough left after the secured creditors have been dealt with to justify carrying on.

"Many fear he will struggle to find enough. Without that 'value' or outside support, the club could be facing the same precipice very soon."

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see also
Argyle staff demand board action
03 Mar 11 |  Plymouth
Argyle on brink as crisis deepens
02 Mar 11 |  Plymouth
Cash for Argyle comes from Japan
02 Mar 11 |  Plymouth
Ridsdale steps back from Argyle
02 Mar 11 |  Plymouth
Argyle squad get second PFA loan
01 Mar 11 |  Plymouth
Wrathall vows to stay at Argyle
26 Feb 11 |  Plymouth
Plymouth receive 10-point penalty
21 Feb 11 |  Plymouth

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