IT BEGAN as a rumour being spread on social media, and like so many such online claims, reports of the imminent collapse of Ibrox Stadium proved to be greatly exaggerated.
The National can reveal that, contrary to rumours, the home of Rangers FC since 1899 has been given a safety certificate for the season 2016-2017. By law, all major stadia must have such a certificate approved by experts from local authorities and emergency services.
The National can also reveal, however, that there was a glitch in the process caused by none other than the club chairman Dave King. The rumours of trouble with the structure of the stadium gained ground recently when chairman King issued a series of answers to questions put to him online by supporters of the club which won promotion to this season’s Ladbrokes Premiership four years after it collapsed financially under then chairman Craig Whyte.
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South African-based King told fans on the Rangers website that “it is as unfortunate as it is true that Ibrox and its surrounding environs have been sadly neglected for many years – even prior to the Craig Whyte takeover”.
He continued: “The stadium itself requires significant maintenance work, much of which will go unseen, but will include a major overhaul of the roofs of the Broomloan, Copland Road and Sandy Jardine stands.”
At the point King issued his statement, Glasgow’s Safety Advisory Group, which monitors stadia safety under laws brought in following the Hillsborough Disaster, and which includes representatives from the three emergency services, had already inspected Ibrox and had “no issues” with the stadium, in the words of a Glasgow City Council spokesman.
The group spotted King’s website remarks and delayed issuing the safety certificate until clarification was forthcoming – in turn, rumours began to spread that the stadium was unsafe.
The club was able to reassure the Safety Advisory Group and the certificate was issued – it had been due to expire later this month.
A city council spokesman said the council could confirm that Rangers “do now have the certificate.”
A spokesperson for Rangers said: “Rangers can state that Ibrox Stadium fully complies with the safety legislation and the safety certificate has been issued.”