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Rangers need buyer 'in next few days'

The administrators in charge of Rangers are hoping to sell the Scottish Premier League club in the next few days after failing to agree cost-cutting measures with the playing staff.

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Unless a buyer is found quickly, administrators Duff and Phelps will have no choice but to make the necessary cuts which would leave Rangers in danger of failing to fulfil their fixtures for the remainder of the season.

Lengthy negotiations over possible wage cuts, which saw midfielders Gregg Whyte and Mervan Celik walk away from the club, have broken down and the administrators are now seeking a new owner prepared to take on the club's burgeoning debts.

But even if a buyer comes forward, Rangers will still likely miss out on European football next season with the administrators admitting there is "no realistic prospect'' of the club meeting the criteria to secure a licence before the March 31 deadline.

Joint administrator David Whitehouse said: "We are announcing today we are accelerating the sale of Rangers Football Club. The club is in a perilous financial situation and that should not be under-estimated.

"We are striving to strike a balance where cost-cutting measures can be implemented but do not destroy the fabric of the playing squad to the extent that it will inhibit the prospect of a sale.

"No-one should be in any doubt that in the absence of sufficient cost-cutting measures or receipt of substantial unplanned income, the club will not be able to fulfil its fixtures throughout the remainder of the season.

"As a result, we are expediting the sale process and over the next few days we will be holding discussions with prospective purchasers who have declared their interest. The manager, Ally McCoist, will play an integral part in these discussions.

"If, however, it becomes apparent that the sale process cannot be accelerated there will be no choice but to implement very severe cost cutting measures at the club.''

Meanwhile, joint administrator Paul Clark has vowed to seek special dispensation regarding European football next season - they must apply to the Scottish Football Association, who use UEFA rules to determine whether licences are issued. But he added that the stewardship of Craig Whyte had left Rangers with almost no chance of meeting the criteria

Clark said: "As regards the club playing in European competitions next season, there is no realistic prospect of the club being able to fulfil its obligations prior to the March 31 deadline set by UEFA.''

Clark outlined four major reasons for the assertion before suggesting there was hope of Rangers competing in Europe next term.

He said: "As administrators, we will make every effort to seek dispensation from the footballing authorities given the extraordinary circumstances in which the club has been placed.''

However, it is understood there can be no special dispensation if the required financial criteria, stipulated by UEFA, are not met.

Next term will, therefore, almost certainly be the first time Rangers have not participated in European competition since the 1980-81 season.

Motherwell are in pole position to secure the second spot in the Champions League qualifiers along with runaway league leaders Celtic.

With nine games remaining, third-placed Motherwell are 11 points above St Johnstone and Dundee United and are only three points behind Rangers, who were deducted ten for going into administration.

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