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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
New Airdrie 'will honour debts'
Airdrie United have pledged to honour all the football debts of the now liquidated Airdrieonians should the new club be admitted to the Scottish Football League.
United claim that they would be able to pay nearly £500,000 owed to players and other clubs.
And they have also confirmed that they would be able to use the Excelsior Stadium at the start of the season - with Albion Rovers possibly joining them as lodgers.
United were holding a media conference five days before the SFL meets on Tuesday to decide which of seven clubs will be given the vacant place in the Third Division next season.
Airdrieonians had finished second in the First Division, only to drop out of the SFL set up because of their liquidation last month.
Some clubs are concerned that, should a new Airdrie be allowed to emerge in the same ground as the old but free of the previous club's debts, it would set a dangerous precedent.
But Glasgow accountant Jim Ballantyne, who would be chairman of Airdrie United, said: "We have no financial obligation to look at the football debt left by the previous administration, but I believe we have a moral responsibility to try to resolve that problem.
"That is why we have made a public commitment to look at the situation. We will examine every player's case and hopefully come to an acceptable compromise with everyone.
"We have already had a very positive meeting with Scottish Professional Footballers Association secretary Tony Higgins on this issue."
The new club being formed under Glasgow accountant Jim Ballantyne are favourites to win the race as they have a larger fan base than any of their non-league rivals.
They could give have the largest support in Scotland's lowest league.
"We have 1,600 pledges to buy season tickets and we also take a good travelling support with us, which can only be to the financial benefit of other clubs in the division," said Ballantyne.
Barr Construction is still owed a substantial sum for the building of Airdrieonians' stadium.
But Ballantyne disclosed that an agreement had been struck with with liquidators KPMG to play in the vacant ground.
"This is fantastic news for Airdrie United," he said. "It also opens the way for Albion Rovers to progress their own aspirations and join us there."
United already had the option of sharing Albion's Cliftonhill Stadium in neighbouring Coatbridge.
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