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Europe, explained
 

Glasgow Rangers go bust

Fabled Scottish soccer team has can't pay its tax bill
Old firmEnlarge
Action in the most recent Rangers-Celtic "Old Firm" match (Jeff J Mitchell/AFP/Getty Images)

Glasgow Rangers have applied to the Scottish Court of Session for administration, something similar to bankruptcy in the U.S.. The club, which plays to sell-out crowds at its legendary stadium Ibrox, owes Britain's tax authorities £49 million ($77.3 million).

Glasgow Rangers is more than a soccer team. It is one half - the protestant half - of one of the bitterest rivalries in world football. Glasgow Celtic is the Catholic half.

The pair are surrogates for the bitter sectarianism that scarred western Scotland and, more violently, Northern Ireland until recently.

Since they first met in 1888, they have played 397 times, Rangers have won 158 matches, Celtic 144 95 have been draws.

The pair - called the Old Firm - dominate Scottish football. Rangers have won the Scottish championship 54 times. Celtic has won 42.

But it is the sectarian side of the relationship that makes this a uniquely bitter rivalry.  For decades, match days have been scarred by occasionally lethal violence around Glasgow. In 1980, at the height of The Troubles, Rangers and Celtic fans brawled on the pitch after a game. In 2008, Neil Lennon, Celtic's manager and a native of Northern Ireland was assaulted in Glasgow. Last year he received a parcel bomb in the mail.

But this is a new twist. One thing is for sure: Celtic will win the title this year. Rangers, currently in second place, will automatically have ten points deducted from their total (the standings are based on more than won-lost in soccer. A team gets three points for a win and one for a draw.)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/europe/glasgow-rangers-go-bust

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