SOCCER-Glasgow's Rangers say on road to financial recovery

Reuters

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Scottish soccer club Rangers declared its financial problems at an end on Tuesday two years after one of the British game's biggest names was ruined by a tax scandal and forced to drop to the bottom of the professional leagues.

Rangers, one of the best supported clubs in Britain with average home crowds of 45,000, had to relaunch from the fourth tier of the Scottish game last season after collapsing under a pile of debt. They are now top of Scottish League One - the third tier of the game north of the border.

Cost-cutting and improved retail revenues should improve the club's profitability in the coming seasons, the AIM-listed club said in a statement as it announced financial results for the 13 months to June 30, 2013.

The club, who in their previous incarnation won Scotland's premier league 17 times between 1986 and 2011, said an operating loss of 14 million pounds ($22.7 million) in 2012-13 would not be repeated in a bid to revive past glories.

"We will continue to keep a firm grip on expenditure," Chief Executive Craig Mather said.

"As we strive to progress through the leagues, revenues can be expected to rise and there will be greater opportunity to improve financial performance further."

Rangers had been Scottish champions a record 54 times before their collapse last year, seen as a warning to other British teams to clean up their finances.

The club reported revenue of only 19 million pounds in the 2012-13 period as sponsorship and broadcast revenue shrunk following their demotion from the Scottish Premier League.

This compares with turnover of 76 million pounds for their perennial Glasgow rivals Celtic, who are also listed on AIM and last week reported an operating profit of 13 million thanks to their participation in the lucrative European Champions League.

Rangers raised 22 million pounds in a flotation on the AIM stock market in December and won promotion at the end of last season.

However, the club faced more off-field problems in April when Chief Executive Charles Green, the English businessman who led the club's rescue, resigned following claims he had been working on behalf of former owner Craig Whyte.

Rangers shares floated at 70p but are now worth only 49.5p, with sentiment hit by boardroom turbulence surrounding Green's departure.

Whyte, the majority shareholder when Rangers went into administration in February 2012, has been barred from playing any part in Scottish soccer.

A private inquiry carried out by a legal firm for Rangers found no evidence to support claims of Whyte's involvement.

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