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Pars deal sees Harper Macleod score a hat-trick

Harper Macleod, Legal Advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has underlined its reputation as the country's leading sports law firm by helping Dunfermline Athletic FC successfully exit administration earlier this month.

Working with Bryan Jackson and the team at administrator BDO, the firm assisted in the successful sale of the club to new owners Pars United, a fans-backed community group, after a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) was agreed with creditors to allow the club to come out of administration.

Harper Macleod has previously worked with administrator PKF, now part of BDO, in the successful administrations of Motherwell FC and Dundee FC.

James Lloyd, Partner at Harper Macleod and one of Scotland's leading insolvency lawyers, said: "This is the third football club administration we've been involved in and we've managed to get them all over the line. There were a number of complex issues to be overcome, including several late legal challenges, before the club could be sold but we're delighted to have been able to help reach a successful outcome."

Dunfermline entered administration in March following a winding up order from HMRC for £134,000. The club was deducted points as a result and ended the season being relegated to the third flight of Scottish football.

A late challenge former Dunfermline owner Gavin Masterton, concerning the lease over the club's training ground, had cast doubt over Pars United bid for the club, however Harper Macleod was able to assist in overcoming an interdict at the Court of Session, and the deal finally went through.

Harper Macleod Partners Paula Skinner and Gordon Hollerin successfully negotiated the sale of the Dunfermline AFC to Pars United after the administrators were able to reach agreement with creditors over a CVA. The Harper Macleod team was also assisted by Banking Partner Tony Cameron.

Paula Skinner said: "We've been involved in this process since April and every time we thought we were about to reach a successful conclusion something else cropped up. I've never been involved in a deal with quite so many twists and turns and it was touch and go a number of times. There were a lot of risks involved but the key thing was that both sides wanted to do the deal, and it was extremely satisfying to help make it happen."

Bryan Jackson, business restructuring partner with BDO LLP, said: "It was clear from the beginning that the administration of Dunfermline Athletic FC was going to be a difficult process. All football administrations have their difficulties, but the complex ownership structure, the need to complete in a short period of time due to limited funds, and the pressure to satisfy all sides made this particularly problematic."

"The support, advice and experience of the team at Harper Macleod was invaluable throughout the process and made the transition from administration to fan owned club that much easier than it might otherwise have been. This is the third football club administration which we have worked on with Harper Macleod and, while I would hesitate to say I hope we do it again, if further clubs fail then I would definitely want to work with them again."