American withdraws bid to buy struggling Rangers
American businessman Bill Miller withdrew his bid to buy the
financially stricken Rangers club on Tuesday.
Last week, administrators running the record 54-time Scottish
champions considered Miller their preferred bidder. But Miller said
in a statement that he was dismayed by hostility from fans unhappy
with the prospect of foreign ownership and that the 140-year-old
club’s financial situation is worse than he initially thought.
”By late Monday night, it became clear to me that preliminary
information, discussions and analysis were, unfortunately, more
optimistic than reality,” Miller said. ”Having no intention of
negatively affecting the potential outcome of the club’s future and
after hearing the message from Rangers supporters and fans loud and
clear, I notified the administrators today that I have withdrawn my
bid for Rangers and will not be moving forward.”
Miller, the chairman of a Tennessee-based towing and recovery
equipment company, said he had been told ”Yank, go home” but did
not say by whom.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and
Liverpool are among the English Premier League clubs under foreign
ownership. But neither Rangers nor Celtic – the biggest teams in
Scotland – have ever been bought by overseas owners.
Rangers entered bankruptcy protection in February following a
long-running dispute with British tax authorities.
Its future has been at stake after falling into tax debts of $14
million since a takeover by Craig Whyte a year ago. The Glasgow
club is also awaiting the verdict of a tax tribunal involving as
much as $119 million.
Rangers is under a transfer embargo, preventing the club from
signing players for the next 12 months unless they are under age 18
and cannot play in next season’s Champions League because UEFA
rules prevent it being granted a license.
Its already narrow hopes of retaining the Scottish Premier
League title were ended by a 10-point deduction that was
automatically triggered by going into administration.