Pars facing ‘brutal’ staff cull

Barcelona forward Pedro will be out of action for 10 days after

injuring his calf on international duty with Spain.

Barca issued a statement saying: “Tests have confirmed that the

player has small muscle fibre tears in his left leg.”

Pedro scored the winner for world champions Spain in their 1-0

victory over France in Paris on Tuesday which put them back on top

of their group in qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals.

The 25-year-old was already suspended for next Tuesday’s

Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris St Germain,

but will now miss Saturday’s league trip to Celta Vigo and is a

doubt for the visit of Real Mallorca the following weekend.

Pedro is the second Barca player to pick up an injury on

international duty this month after defender Jordi Alba suffered a

hamstring strain while also away with Spain.

Accountants PKF were on Wednesday appointed as interim

administrators of the financially-stricken club at the Court of

Session in Edinburgh.

But the firm’s expert trouble-shooter Bryan Jackson admits the

Pars’ situation is the worst he has ever encountered in

football.

PKF have now taken control of the finances and operations of the

Irn-Bru First Division outfit and Jackson will meet with boss Jim

Jefferies, his squad and other staff tomorrow afternoon to lay out

the painful news detailing just how many of them face losing their

jobs.

Jackson, who has acted as administrator for Clyde, Clydebank,

Motherwell, Dundee and Portsmouth in the past, said: “I’ll be

honest and say this is as bad a situation as I’ve seen at a

football club. It’s going to be as challenging as anything I’ve

done in the past.

“What I will be doing now is trying to assess staffing

requirements, looking at the cash flow and all the things that are

associated with that.

“Hopefully I will be in a position tomorrow to see what type of

cuts we need to make. I don’t know the level of redundancies we

will have to make yet as I haven’t seen the information but my gut

feel is that it is going to have to be quite brutal as the cash

flow is very, very tight. My best guess is that it will affect both

playing and non-playing staff.

“We will be looking at possible wage cuts as well as

redundancies. But I hope to do it as quickly as I can as I want to

take away the uncertainty that is lying there for people.”

Dunfermline owe almost almost ?8.5million to owner Gavin

Masterton and other directors, and were forced to apply for

administration to stave off a winding-up order launched by Her

Majesty’s Revenue and Customs over an unpaid ?134,000 tax bill.

But the granting of interim administration – with a further

hearing on whether full administration will be approved to come on

April 11 – at least meant the club could press ahead with plans for

tonight’s league match against Falkirk at East End Park.

Jackson, who has been appointed interim administration manager

alongside colleague Robert Barclay, admits little can be done to

save the 128-year-old club unless its supporters continue to turn

out in numbers.

He said: “I need the support of everybody connected with the

club if it is to survive. If fans don’t support the club, then the

third parties who have promised to fund it won’t either.

“If that doesn’t happen then I can’t cash-flow Dunfermline and I

can’t keep it going.

“So I am actually in other people’s hands to a great extent. I

will do the best that I can but I will need everybody’s

support.”

The administrators revealed during today’s Edinburgh court

hearing that Masterton hopes to sell off his majority shareholding

to an interested buyer, but only once a Creditors’ Voluntary

Agreement has been struck.

However, the club faces the added threat of swingeing

punishments from the Scottish Football League after entering

administration.

Dundee were hit with a 25-point deduction when they had to take

that route in 2010, while Gretna and Livingston both found

themselves relegated two divisions after encountering similar cash

woes.

Jackson has pleaded with SFL chiefs to go easy on Dunfermline,

fearing harsh penalties could scupper his hopes of finding a buyer

for the Fife outfit.

He said: “Unfortunately that is the rules, there will be

sanctions. Those are discretionary in the football league and I

will be putting forward the case for the club and I just hope the

SFL will be kind to us.

“Would it hinder me if the punishment was harsh? Yes it

certainly would. If they hit us with very heavy penalties, it

affects us in different ways and it may effect us financially,

depending on league reconstruction and other matters.

“So I will be down on my knees to the fans and everyone

connected with the club asking for their support and I’ll be down

on my knees to (SFL chief executive) David Longmuir as well to say,

‘Please be gentle’.”

The Scottish Football League will meet with Jackson over the

coming days to gather the necessary information before a decision

is taken on possible sanctions.

An SFL spokesman said: “There will be a meeting to get to all

the information and the extent of the problems.

“The board will have to consider the whole matter and that

involves us getting all the information from the administrator in

writing and, no doubt, also inviting him into a board meeting.

“Thereafter, it’s up the board to decide whether or not they

find a club guilty of conduct contrary to the interests of the

league and its member clubs.

“The board have got full power to deal with such matters as it

thinks fit, including the power to deduct championship points.

“That includes a club either going in, or seeking to go in, to

administration.”