Scottish Premier League champions Rangers have served notice that they are to go into administration.
Rangers are still awaiting the outcome of a tax tribunal hearing that could see the club fined up to £49 million and, though owner Craig Whyte had said recently he would fight the possibility of administration, the club have pre-empted any decision on the case by announcing their intentions to the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The court said that solicitors lodged the papers on behalf of the club's directors on Monday lunchtime, with the paperwork officially confirming the club's "intention to appoint an administrator".
Over the coming days, Rangers will discuss the situation to determine whether they can reach an agreement with creditors. Should they fail to do so, they will officially be placed in the hands of the administrators and docked ten points.
An SPL spokesman said: "At this point in time, Rangers are not in administration and we await developments. The instant that they are technically in administration there will be an automatic ten-point deduction and, perhaps of less relevance, an embargo on player registrations.
"If administration is confirmed, as we have done previously, we would be looking to work with the administrators and would be looking for a very early meeting."
The HMRC tax tribunal is centred on the use of employee benefits trusts (EBTs), which were in place before Whyte took over from Sir David Murray last May. Whyte, who bought Murray's shares for £1 and pledged to pay off £18 million of debt to Lloyds Banking Group, has seen his short tenure shrouded in controversy.
Last week former Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston revealed he had asked the Government's Insolvency Service to clarify "certain financial arrangements" relating to the takeover of the club. Whyte had earlier admitted securing funds from loan company Ticketus in lieu of future season ticket sales.
Johnston told the BBC: "Rangers' stakeholders are now demanding full transparency. I have had numerous approaches following the recent revelations in the press about the acquisition of Rangers Football Club and the use of future season ticket money.
"I am not in a position to answer all the questions put to me, but I do recognise the issue is causing much concern.
"I believe this is a prevalent view amongst Rangers' stakeholders who are now demanding full transparency about the funding of the acquisition of the club, its current financial status, and most importantly, the way forward."
Rangers were crowned champions of Scotland in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and their 54 league titles make them the most successful club in the world in terms of domestic championships.