Financial woes place football clubs on cusp of collapse

Dunfermline Athletic and Coventry City football clubs are both close to financial meltdown and could be facing their final whistle.

Dunfermline Athletic FC - Sir Alex Ferguson's former club where he played in the 1960's - is facing a winding-up order from HMRC over unpaid taxes, while League One club Coventry City faces an urgent risk of entering administration next week.

In Dunfermline's case, the taxman lodged the order at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday, leaving the 128-year-old Scottish Football League First Division club just days to find the funds to prevent its liquidation.

The club owes £134,000 to HMRC - made up of £89,000 in VAT and £30,000 in PAYE.

Administration is understood to not be a viable option due to the club's complicated ownership structure, which includes majority shareholder, Gavin Masterton, also owning East End Park Limited, the company which owns the stadium.

A statement from the club's board of directors posted on the official club website said: 'Dunfermline Athletic Football Club (DAFC) would like to clarify the situation with HMRC.

'Since 1 November 2012, DAFC has paid £330,408 PAYE and VAT this had cleared all previous arrears and this includes February's PAYE.

DAFC can confirm that they are due HMRC £89,000 VAT from 7 January 2013, and our January PAYE of £30,000 which fell due on 22 January.'

There have been widespread calls for Masterton to relinquish control, so the club can morph into a fan-owned model, as supporters reportedly have £250,000 available to invest to keep the taxman at bay.

Club chairman John Yorkston has said he is 'reasonably confident' that the money can be raised.

Meanwhile, Coventry City could enter administration next week over the increasingly bitter row centred on rent and matchday revenues at the Ricoh Arena.

Sky Blues owners, Sisu, and Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the company that owns the stadium, remain locked in a fight over revenue from the ground, even though ACL recently made an offer to slash the annual rent from £1.3m to £400,000.

Coventry's chief executive, Tim Fisher, has said that if negotiations do not resume the only option left will be to file for administration.

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