King exits as chairman
Blow for Rangers as funding plans are ‘put on hold’
Impact: Dave King (pic: SNS Group)
Fresh investment into Rangers has been stalled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, outgoing chairman Dave King has revealed.
The 64-year-old broke the news as he confirmed his official exit as chairman after five years in the post, with motor group tycoon Douglas Park installed as interim chairman.
King told shareholders at the club’s AGM in November that he planned to leave in the new year and he has been true to his word, despite the temptation to extend his tenure to help Rangers cope with the fall-out of COVID-19.
The pandemic has brought football to a standstill and King revealed that new investment which was in the pipeline has been ‘put on hold’ amid the uncertainty surrounding the game at present.
“At the AGM in November I advised that I would be stepping down as chairman and director of RIFC once the new management structure was in place and once a new round of funding had been completed,” he said.
“The new management structure is now fully in place with all key appointments being filled. We now have the strongest executive team at the club since my first appointment to the board over 20 years ago.
“At my final board meeting in Glasgow on March 14 the board was close to finalising a new round of funding, however this has been put on hold while the board considers the financial consequences of the rapidly-evolving global impact of coronavirus.
“The subsequent severe developments within the sporting and general business environment – that have now resulted in global lockdowns – has necessitated that the careful financial planning assumptions presented on March 14 are revisited.
“In that regard we are no different from other football clubs and, indeed, the largest and smallest companies worldwide are all affected to varying degrees.
“The club has formed a task team that comprises executive management and that reports regularly into the board of RIFC. The priority of the task team is to ensure the wellbeing and health of all employees while simultaneously working with our fellow clubs, associations, stakeholders and government to ensure that the emotional and financial impact of this pandemic is mitigated as far as possible.”
He added: “I considered the possibility of extending my time as chairman until the coronavirus crisis is over but that is not practically possible.
“After I returned to South Africa last week from the board meeting, I was mandated by the South African authorities to go into self-isolation for 14 days – which I am presently undergoing. In addition, the South African government has ordered a three-week lockdown which commenced at midnight on Thursday 26 March.
“South Africa is at an early point in the coronavirus curve but is a particularly high-risk country due to the high levels of poverty and unemployment as well as the vast number of township dwellers who are unable to self-isolate.
“Additionally, the South African government does not have the financial resources to offer bailout facilities and it is up to us in the private sector to negotiate arrangements to best survive the months ahead.
“All of my businesses in South Africa are significantly impacted. Many local businesses have not paid their employees – or have reduced payments at the end of March. Many have also terminated the employment of large numbers of their workforce. I decided to pay all employees in full in order to reduce the financial hardship to them.
“I have also put together a task team that communicates on a daily basis to find ways to make arrangements with landlords, suppliers, creditors and other stakeholders to restructure our businesses for as long as is necessary (I estimate a minimum of six months) and, in doing so, prioritise the wellbeing of our employees and their families.
“This is a full-time task that leaves me no free time to make meaningful input to the Rangers task team – which, in any event, is dealing with a more structured and more benign local environment due to the ability of the UK government to offer meaningful financial support to distressed businesses and individuals.”