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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 15:09 GMT
Gretna edging closer to closure
Gretna have endured a troubled season in the SPL
Gretna might be out of business before the weekend
Gretna's perilous position has worsened as the administrator running the club has admitted that it may be impossible to field a team at the weekend.

However, David Elliot insisted that, while the situation had deteriorated, he has not given up on the club.

Just 10 players have indicated that they are willing to face Aberdeen on Saturday as doubts surface over insurance and future payment.

"As of today, we don't have a team for Saturday," said Elliot.

"I can't insist that the players play if they haven't been paid and I can't pay them on Monday either.

"Failure to play on Saturday would mean we are in breach of league rules and would leave us open to be fined and face other penalties.

"Unfortunately we are running out of time."

Aberdeen have announced that they expect the game to go ahead.

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"Following intensive discussions involving the SPL, the administrator and ourselves, we were told that the governing body expects the match to be played, as scheduled, on Saturday at 3pm," said a Dons spokesman.

"While these are clearly difficult times for all concerned, the clear priority for everyone connected with the SPL has been to ensure we do all we possibly can to assist in ensuring Gretna fulfils its fixture commitments."

If Gretna can keep going beyond the weekend they could then pin their hopes on a big pay-day at home to Celtic the following weekend.

Elliot also aims to renegotiate the terms of the ground-sharing agreement with Motherwell and said the Fir Park club had been helpful.

Any additional breathing space would also give more time to attract any potential investors.

The SPL will meet with Elliot on Friday to discuss a possible advance payment of a "six-figure sum" that clubs usually receive at the end of each season from the league's broadcasting and advertising contracts.

"If we receive reassurances from Gretna that they will be able to fulfil their fixtures then the money would be available," said an SPL spokesman.

Earlier, football consultant Paul Davies told BBC Sport he was fronting "a serious bid" for the club.

But Elliot said that, while he was aware of "two or three interested parties", nobody was presently looking at the club's accounts.

To make matters worse at the beleaguered club, their Raydale Park home was the subject of an overnight break-in, with football boots and food stolen.

The Inland Revenue had been pursuing a 350,000 debt.

Two former managers are seeking payments of 800,000 and 100,000, while the club are in arrears with ground-sharing payments to Motherwell.

Gretna are in the hands of administrator David Elliot
Mr Mileson's position has not changed; he is not putting forward funds for the club to continue
David Elliot

While Gretna are not saddled with enormous debts, backer Brooks Mileson has withdrawn his financial support after a bout of illness.

"There is no direct contact between Mr Mileson and myself or anyone else at the club but Mr Mileson's position has not changed; he is not putting forward funds for the club to continue," said Elliot.

"He has put in a very substantial amount of money - I believe it to be around 8m - and the way the club has continued with great success over recent seasons is that each week he has been funding the losses.

"As administrator I am faced with the task of reversing that situation to allow the club to continue."

Gretna have been docked 10 points for going into administration.

The revised points tally for the league's bottom club is just six and relegation is almost certain, with 11th-placed St Mirren 21 points better off.

Gretna reduced their squad in January, selling, loaning out and releasing a number players, while bringing in a host of youngsters on loan from England.

Only eight of the 17 senior players remaining on the books at Gretna have deals that run beyond the end of this season.

But all contracts have been breached by the non-payment of wages and players would be within their rights to seek new clubs right away.

"I can't stand in their way - morally, ethically or legally," said Elliot.

Gretna were admitted to the senior ranks of Scottish football in 2002, taking advantage of the demise of Airdrieonians.

And, with Mileson's backing, the club rapidly rose through the divisions, culminating with last year's promotion to the top flight.

Should Gretna go out of business, there would be no relegation from the SPL, while it is likely that all the points from the games they were involved in would be withdrawn.



SEE ALSO
Chick Young's view
11 Mar 08 |  Scotland
Irons saddened by Gretna plight
10 Mar 08 |  Gretna


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