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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 18:21 UK

Livingston saved from liquidation


SFL offer Livingston a lifeline

Livingston have been saved from the brink of extinction after the Scottish Football League backed a proposal that will allow the club to carry on.

The rescue deal is being led by former Cowdenbeath owner Gordon McDougall and ex-Dumbarton chairman Neil Rankine.

The interested buyers, along with interim manager Donald McGruther, of administrator Mazars, will fund the debt-ridden outfit for a year.

As a result, Livingston will continue to play in the First Division.

However, the possibility of a points deduction remains, with the SFL to discuss the matter further.

The SFL, who sought a number of assurances from the new consortium, chiefly the payment of a "substantial" bond and a commitment to fulfil Livi's fixtures, will also consider changing their own insolvency rules.

Livingston looked doomed after chairman Angelo Massone refused to sell his shares for the £25,000 offered to him by McGruther, who has already moved to make staff at the club redundant.

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.

Massone turned up at the Hampden meeting on Thursday but was refused admission to the three-hour conference.


McGruther had offered Massone £25,000 for his shareholding saying that this would then allow him to sell the club for a similar amount to investors interested in taking over the club and that figure may rise with the assistance of McDougall and Rankine.

"I think one of the greatest things Mr Massone wants is to walk away with a bit of dignity, rather than be run out town tarred and feathered," said Rankine, while McDougall added: "He has to understand the issue. He must walk away."

Massone's Italian-based consortium bought Livingston last summer from former owner Pearse Flynn for £1.

The Italian businessman has consistently claimed to have invested large sums of his own money to keep the club afloat, but last season Livingston hit the headlines for the late payment of wages and stories of unpaid debts.

The club chairman, who said his lawyer had advised him not to accept McGruther's offer, called on politicians, potential investors and the interim manager to work together with him to save the club.

McGruther had taken action after Mazars concluded that the club was "hopelessly insolvent, without any discernible cash flow, and in need of an immediate cash injection".

Livingston's players turned out on Saturday without pay as they lost their Alba Challenge Cup tie away to Queen of the South and they face a Co-operative Cup visit to Albion Rovers this weekend.

"Without this deal, there would be no game on Saturday and absolutely no future for the club," said McGruther

"With this, we have a fighting chance of achieving a full ongoing sale."

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see also
Fans urge Livi owner to sell up
28 Jul 09 |  Livingston
League prepares for Livi demise
27 Jul 09 |  Livingston
McDougall resigns to help Livi
25 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Livi to go into administration
24 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Massone bid unlikely to save Livi
15 Jul 09 |  Livingston
Livi name coach as deadline looms
30 Jun 09 |  Livingston
Livingston face final curtain
29 Jun 09 |  Livingston
McDougall outlines plan for Livi
26 Jun 09 |  Livingston
Massone not looking to sell Livi
05 Jun 09 |  Livingston

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