SPL - Foreign groups join Rangers bidding
Overseas groups have joined the Blue Knights and others as potential bidders for stricken Scottish champions Rangers, administrators for the Glasgow club said, warning however that a rescue deal was still some way off.
The 'Blue Knights' consortium led by a former Rangers director and backed by the fans had earlier confirmed it was among the bidders and pressed for clarity on the club's future before they host rivals Celtic on March 25.
However, such a speedy resolution seems unlikely.
"We are very pleased to announce that to date we have received several indicative bids for Rangers Football Club," administrators Duff and Phelps said in a statement.
"We believe the level of interest in purchasing the club from around the world reflects the pedigree and history of the club and the fact the financial position of the business is beginning to clear and will continue to do so over forthcoming weeks," it added.
A group based in the US city of Chicago and Brian Kennedy, a Scot who owns English rugby union club Sale Sharks, had put in rival bids, British media reported.
Loss-making Rangers were forced into administration last month after running up £9 million in unpaid taxes since Scottish businessman Whyte took an 85 per cent stake in the club last May.
Rangers also face an additional bill of more than £50m if they lose a case brought by the tax authorities over the use of trusts to pay players over the past decade.
The administrators said there were "complex issues to be resolved" and these were affecting the bidding process.
It had set Friday as the deadline for bids but said it would also consider an additional approach which was likely to be submitted over the weekend. Talks with potential purchasers will begin early next week.
The Blue Knights have been the most vocal of the interested parties. They also have the support of Ticketus, a company which paid Rangers chairman Whyte about £20m as an advance on future season ticket sales.
"We're ready to go, we have the finances in place and we want to get the club stabilised as quickly as possible," said former Rangers director Paul Murray, who is heading the Blue Knights.
"Like every other Rangers fan, I'd love there to be some certainty about the future of our club before next weekend's Old Firm game," he added, referring to the clash with Celtic at Ibrox.
Rangers have been deducted 10 points for going into administration, leaving the way clear for Old Firm rivals Celtic to reclaim the SPL title.