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Page last updated at 22:10 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 23:10 UK

Clubs angry with SFL over Livi

Kenny Black and Paul Martin
Black and Martin do not believe Livingston should be in the SFL

Two clubs have criticised the Scottish Football League for allowing Livingston to continue playing this season.

Livi had started the process of going into liquidation before the SFL accepted a late rescue package.

Airdrie United manager Kenny Black, whose club would have promoted had Livi gone out of business, described it as a "dangerous precedent".

And Albion Rovers boss Paul Martin said his side should not be playing "an insolvent club" in the Co-op Cup.

Livi had looked doomed after chairman Angelo Massone refused to accept the £25,000 offered to him by interim manager Donald McGruther, of administrator Mazars, to walk away from the club.

McGruther, appointed by the Court of Session after West Lothian Council took legal action to reclaim a £330,000 debt, was on the brink of liquidating Livingston.

But, following a three-hour meeting with the SFL's management committee at Hampden, a unique rescue package led by former Cowdenbeath owner Gordon McDougall and ex-Dumbarton chairman Neil Rankine was given the green light.

I think it is unfair that Livingston will be allowed to pitch up here on Saturday and take money out of the game

Albion Rovers manager Paul Martin

Former Livi director Ged Nixon, who is currently head of supporters' group 'Livi for Life', is the third member of the consortium who will give the SFL a number of assurances, chiefly the payment of a "substantial" bond and a commitment to fulfil the club's fixtures this season.

Massone has since accepted a £50,000 offer for his shares, which will allow the consortium to take over the club.

However, it had looked possible that Airdrie could be saved from relegation for the second year running, having previously benefitted from Gretna's demise.

"We have been in limbo in recent weeks," said Airdrie manager Black. "But now Mr McDougall and Mr Rankine have put a package together that will guarantee them fulfilling their fixtures in the First Division next season.

"We have got to accept it. We have built a squad to get us out of the Second Division and, as far as we are concerned, that's where we will start next season unless we are told differently."

Even so, Black said his club were left feeling aggrieved by the process that saved Livi.

"It has set a dangerous precedent for clubs to do what they want," he said. "We have to find out if rules are to be adhered to or not.

"Nothing against Livi - we don't want to see teams go to the wall and times are hard, but they are hard for everyone.

"Livi didn't pay the council what they were due and there have been problems with salaries at the club.

"I think our directors are disappointed in that we have abided by the rules.

"Airdrie have cut their cloth and made sure salaries and bills have been paid on time."

Livi travel to Coatbridge on Saturday in the first round of the Co-operative Insurance Cup and Rovers manager Martin believes the footballing authorities must pay closer scrutiny to the books as clubs continue to shell out cash they do not have.

"Livingston are an insolvent club," he said. "They have paid their players what they can't afford.

"I think it is unfair that Livingston will be allowed to pitch up here on Saturday and take money out of the game."

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see also
St Mirren swoop for Livi's Innes
31 Jul 09 |  St Mirren
Albion Rovers 3-0 Livingston
01 Aug 09 |  Scottish Cups
Massone sells up to depart Livi
31 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Livingston saved from liquidation
30 Jul 09 |  Livingston
League prepares for Livi demise
27 Jul 09 |  Livingston

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