Dunfermline Athletic FC, the Scottish football club, was (as expected) served with a winding up petition on 15 March 2013. This comes after Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs lodged a petition with the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The club owes £134,000 to HMRC in unpaid taxes and around £450,000 to creditors; this has left players and staff facing repeated wage delays.
The club now has eight days from the publication of the winding up order to pay HMRC. As a result of the clubs complicated ownership structure, which includes the majority shareholder Gavin Masterton, administration is not a viable option. Therefore, if this sum is not paid then HMRC will lodge a further petition that will liquidate the club. It is believed that Masterton is in Switzerland, having grown increasingly frustrated by the anger directed towards him by Dunfermline fans.
The petition comes days after The Pars Community (TPC), a collective of fans attempting to buy the club, failed to negotiate an extended deadline for payment of a £50,000 debt. Masterton had planned to launch a share issue to raise money in order to meet the debts however, the club owes £8.5 million, much of which is to Masterton’s companies.
Herald Sport revealed last week that discussions have begun on an alternative rescue plan which would result in the club being owned by the TPC. However, as publicised by the Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS), this has since failed.
Dunfermline Chairman John Yorkston remains positive. In a statement shortly after the petition he stated “I remain optimistic we can get out of this. We’re still in negotiation with a number of parties and this will continue”.
Another former Pars stalwart, Sir Alex Ferguson, has suggested that he would be prepared to send a Manchester United side to East End Park in an attempt to raise funds for the club. Moreover, local rivals Raith Rovers have said that they will make a donation for every supporter over 2,000 in the Dunfermline away end for this weekend’s derby match (which could be their last ever game).