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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Fifth bid for Rangers

Rangers' administrators aim to have new owners in place by the end of the season after receiving a fifth bid for the club.

• Davis: Financial turmoil affecting results

Duff and Phelps are reported to have received an offer from a Singapore-based consortium.

They follow offers from former Ibrox director Paul Murray's 'Blue Knights' consortium, Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy, a US-based consortium reported to be Club 9 Sports, and another unknown group.

Paul Clark, Rangers' joint administrator, told Sunday newspapers: "What we want to do is analyse the bids and I would suggest we will be moving to a shortlist that might be two or three bidders at some point next week.

"Our preference would be for somebody else to be in control of the football club other than us by the end of the season so they have got the whole close season, the whole transfer window, they have got proper preparation for the new season.''

Murray's bid is in conjunction with Ticketus, who own the rights to £27 million of season tickets for the next three years, but Clark feels a court ruling on the contract on Friday has given them the power to cancel that deal.

"What it means is that the destiny of Rangers' season tickets are now in the club's own hands and gives the ability to properly assess the competing bids,'' he said.

"Let's be clear on what the decision means - it gives us the power, if we think it is necessary and in the best interests of the creditors, to cancel the Ticketus rights to the season tickets.

"It doesn't rule out a deal with the Blue Knights but what it does mean is we may not be able to do a deal right away because of the other competitive bids.

"We now need to take a proper look at them at all. Really the decision is a bit of a game-changer for the other bidders because, with Ticketus in place, few, if any, of them would have put forward a sensible bid because of the loss of the season-ticket revenue.

"It now gives a better assessment across the whole piece. Just to be clear, we haven't cancelled the arrangement at the moment.

"It's just if we feel it is necessary. At the moment, they still do have the rights but it gives the ability to cancel and then I think they would be a creditor.''

Meanwhile, Duff and Phelps have backed Rangers' fans attempts to postpone a Scottish Premier League inquiry into alleged undisclosed payments to players from 1998 onwards.

The probe centres on the club's use of employee benefit trusts, which are the subject of an ongoing tax dispute.

"We have written to the SPL asking why it is necessary at this time to conduct an inquiry,'' Clark said.

"They have known about the issue for some time, we still don't have the tribunal's decision and we would like to understand why they feel they need the inquiry now.

"We will of course continue to co-operate with all the footballing authorities but with everything else that's going on it is a bit of an unnecessary hindrance for us when we still await the tribunal's decision.

"It is something we share the fans' frustration on, there's other work we could be getting on with. The tribunal has not yet confirmed Rangers is responsible so therefore why do the SPL feel they need to look at it?

"If they wanted to look at it, why didn't they look at it at the time it was going on?''


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