Livingston will be placed in financial administration for the second time in their 14-year history.
The First Division club owe West Lothian Council £330,000 in rent arrears, buildings insurance and rates.
And the council reluctantly asked the Court of Session in Edinburgh to take action to recover the various debts.
Donald McGruther, of the administrators Mazars, will now look after the running of the ailing club and conduct negotiations with potential buyers.
McGruther, who oversaw a deal that saved Falkirk and paid the club's creditors in full as liquidator in 1997-98, said: "We are working hard to preserve the value of Livingston and produce a positive outcome for all.
"We thank fans in advance for their continued support in this turbulent period.
"There's absolutely no cash flow other than gate receipts. The players have offered unanimously to play for nothing until the situation stabilises.
"It's vital that any fan that's interested in the future of the Livingston turns up to the match and brings a friend."
Angelo Massone, who led an Italy-based consortium in a takeover of the club last summer, did not oppose the council's request to have an administrator appointed.
However, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, he denied that the club had actually yet entered administration.
"We are not in administration," he said. "There was appointed today an interim manager and, by 18 August, he will decide if the club enters administration.
"Obviously this is a technicality: an interim manager is not insolvency, administration is insolvency."
The Scottish Football League will meet to discuss sanctions against Livingston once it has discussed the situation with the administrator.
Points deduction, demotion to the Third Division and expulsion from the SFL altogether are all possible outcomes for the club, who are understood to be around £1m in debt.
Meanwhile, Livingston's Alba Challenge Cup visit to Queen of the South on Saturday is not under threat.
Council leader Peter Johnson told BBC Scotland that a late pledge of £100,000 from Massone was not deemed credible and said: ''We see this as the first step to the club's recovery and re-establishing Livingston again on a sound and sustainable financial platform.
"Given the current situation, we sincerely believe administration is the best way forward.
"Our goal remains a secure future for senior football in West Lothian, and we will offer the administrator any assistance we can to towards this goal.
"We appreciate some Livingston fans may be rightly concerned by these events. They should rest assured that we share their wish of a stable and successful football club at the heart of the local community for many years to come, and will do all we can to achieve this."
Livingston were put in the hands of administrators in February 2004 after an incredible run from the Third Division to the Scottish Premier League and Uefa Cup qualification.
It then took 15 months for the Almondvale club to find a new owner, with Pearse Flynn's Lionheart consortium taking over.
Flynn sold his stake to Massone for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £1, last summer.
The club has its roots in non-league Ferranti Thistle, who became Meadowbank Thistle in 1974 before being reborn as Livingston for season 1995-96.
After moving to West Lothian, they won the Third Division championship in their first year. Following three seasons in the Second Division, Livingston were crowned champions and two years later they won the First Division to reach the SPL.
That first season in the top flight culminated in a third-place finish and entry to the Uefa Cup. A month into their first spell in administration, Livingston lifted the League Cup with a 2-0 win over Hibernian at Hampden.
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