Commander Green, The FIFA man, and life after the Murray Empire

Good Morning,

A number of years ago I sat and watched while the late David Will, one time chairman of Brechin City, former President of the Scottish Football Association and Vice President of FIFA, peered over the upper rims of his glasses at the assembled board and management of St Johnstone Football Club and proceeded to brand them all as a “shower of thrawn buggers!”.

The reason for the tongue in cheek outburst from Scotland’s highest ranking official from the world of football was the organisation of the centenary dinner celebrating 100 years of the Perth Club— which the club saw fit to hold well outside the centenary year. Will had been invited to speak as a guest at the dinner ( yes Mr Cosgrove I was there ), along with then manager Alex Totten and Craigie Veitch the former sports editor of the Scotsman.

For those who are not familiar with old Scots words, Thrawn can have a couple of meanings which are very similar. If someone is being obstinate, stubborn, uncompromising, perverse or intractable then in auld Scots we say that he or she is being thrawn. Equally, the original meaning has been said to be crooked, twisted, misshapen or deformed. A tree could be thrawn, as could someone’s arm or other part of the body. To be thrawn-leggit was to have a crooked leg.

These meanings then sort of morphed into meanings like difficult or contrary, and so twisted and crooked in that sense, and when David Will called St Johnstone a shower of “thrawn Buggers” he meant that they were being awkward, contrary and perverse in holding a centenary dinner when it wasn’t actually the centenary. He was of course being lighthearted.

That episode came to mind this week when I read the latest statements from Alastair Johnston and Charles Green. Both set out an argument which suits their individual purposes and adopted perspectives, and both perhaps chose to ignore counter argument or salient facts which would obviously derail their logic and train of thought. With the greatest of respect to both men— what a pair of thrawn buggers!!!

In that vein let me recap as to where I think we stand on this September morn in relation to the EBT debate, the question of “Club” and the Independent enquiry into payment outwith contract.

Clearly, all of these issues are closely linked but each stands in its own wee pocket or chapter, and when taken together they serve to make  a whole book or paint an overall scene.

The EBT issue has been repeatedly explained on the RTC blog and elsewhere but at the risk of repeating what is already known the fundamentals are as follows:

Employee Benefits Trusts under certain circumstances are or were a perfectly legal business and accounting tool.

However, in order for the trusts to provide substantial tax advantages, any reward, remuneration or compensation they provide to a beneficiary must not form part of their contract of employment or work package. If this rule is not strictly adhered to, then tax is payable on the sums “given” to the employee, with the employer being liable for tax and national insurance contributions of any employee.

It is alleged by HMRC, that a number of persons who were at one time employed by Rangers PLC have received benefits by way of a specific EBT. Further, the benefits which these employees received were clearly related to their contracts of employment and so these payments are liable to tax, together with interest for late payment and penalties for non-declaration and so on.

This is denied by Rangers PLC and by Murray International Holdings, and MIH have instigated and conducted an appeal against the HMRC view, with that appeal being determined by an independent tax tribunal (The FTT). The basis of their argument appears to be that the benefits received by the beneficiaries were nothing to do with MIH or Rangers and that these payments were purely discretionary and at the instance of the trustees of the trusts concerned– none of whom have any connection with Rangers PLC or MIH. Therefore– there is no tax payable.

Against this there seems to be a plethora of evidence which contradicts this stance including a number of side letters or second contracts which show that any payments to these EBT’s were indeed contractual and part of an overall contract of employment “package”– and if that is deemed to be the case then tax, interest and penalties are indeed, and always were, due.

These contracts or side letters then seem to fly in the face of the documentation lodged with the SPL and later the SFA, as both bodies require sight of all contractual documentation relating to players remuneration and their terms and conditions of employment. Contracts have to be in standard form and lodged with the appropriate bodies to ensure that the player is in fact properly registered to play for the team.

Further, the rules of football prohibit any player being paid by a third party, and so payments made to a player by someone other than his employer is a breach of that rule.

It is this issue that the Nimmo Smith Tribunal is to investigate and rule upon.

For their part, Rangers PLC appear to argue that the existence of EBT’s were always declared in the notes of their accounts, and so the footballing authorities should have known that they were in use at the club. More recently, Alastair Johnston has stated that the club did receive a request for clarification from the SFA in 2011 to which the Rangers PLC board responded disclosing documents ( although he does not specify what documents ) over and above the normal documentation sent re player contracts. Johnston has gone on to state that there was no response or follow up whatsoever from the SFA, and the appropriate UEFA licence simply arrived in the post without further ado. He concludes that as a result of the documentation sent, the SFA must have known at that time that the EBT payments were being used for “player compensation” purposes.

Now, AJ argues that if any misdemeanour or breach of rules has occurred it does not merit the much discussed and publicised “stripping of titles” and that any failure on the part of the Rangers PLC board amounts to no more than an oversight or an administrative error which does not justify the ultimate penalty.

Let’s just pause there and remember who and what AJ actually is in life. Alastair Johnston holds the posts of vice-chairman and member of the board of directors of International Management Group, the leading international sports and entertainment group. Now everyone knows that IMG was formed by Mark McCormack and represents sports stars as their agent. However what is less well known is that the majority of IMG’s work comes from broadcasting – not necessarily mainstream broadcasting – but the broadcasting of certain events to mobile phones and so on and in this context the company works with the likes of Vodafone and other major service providers in the sector. Further the company has the rights to market and broadcast the sports activities of a huge number of schools and colleges in the US as well as music channels, entertainment and so on.

I raise this aspect for one very important reason.

That entire industry is based on one thing and one thing only and that is………… a Licensing system. Broadcasters of any sort obtain the rights to broadcast by way of a licence. They licence content, they licence by area and geographical location, they licence for set time periods,they share licences, sell licences, create licences and terminate licences. Without a licence, they can have all the technology in the world, all the necessary content and so on but they are not able to show it, sell it and profit from it. Proper licensing is vital!

Further, they are very precious about licences- and rightly so– because unless they have the licences tightly tied up, others in the same field can attempt to steal their content, their territory and their rights– all of which are valuable assets.

So go back again and look at all AJ’s comments about proper registration of contracts, about proper administration of documents and licence applications for players, UEFA competition and so against the background of him being a grand fromage in a major company whose absolute lifeblood depends upon proper licensing.

Do you remotely believe that the continual and prolonged inability to properly declare all relevent contracts and player documentation to a licensing body ( both SFA and SPL in this instance) can be merely an oversight or an administrative error?

Further, take a look at the accounts for Rangers PLC at least in the year ended 2005, where it is made very clear that the football management side of the business was working extremely closely with the board in all business and contract matters.

The SFA in particular fulfills a licencing function– a function which is so important that without passing the tests laid down, any club of no matter what size simply cannot play or participate in the sole sphere it is designed to participate and play in. There are strict rules about licences, and a duty on the SFA as well as Rangers PLC to make sure that all of the conditions that must be fulfilled in order to gain a licence have in fact been met. It is not a process that should be left to chance or a process that any major organisation would leave to a junior member of staff or without there being a company defined process and procedure to ensure that the applications and compliance issues are properly dealt with.

Further, if you think about how a footballer player signs for a club– the negotiations, the transfer fee, the personal terms, the contracts, the agents commission and so on, you will realise that a player signing and the terms of his contract – or contracts for that matter – cannot simply come about by accident and outwith the boards knowledge or consent.

In short, it is impossible. It is also impossible, in my respectful opinion, to proceed on a decade long process of administrative errors involving the repeated failure to disclose secondary contracts or side letters. As someone once said to me, there comes a point where a continued and continual series of repeated errors or omissions starts to look suspiciously like a plan!

However, if we were to take AJ’s comments at face value, and accept that there were repeated failures on the part of the Rangers Board by accident, then to be honest there would be every right for shareholders and investors to hold the Directors liable for such negligence. Directors regularly and properly insure themselves against such claims– so I wonder if AJ has paid his insurance premiums?

Further, if he as Chairman presided over such mismanagement, then no doubt his time at IMG is limited as I doubt such  an organisation could afford to have such a dunderheid permanently ensconced in a senior managerial position.

However, AJ appears to be a positively straightforward chap when compared to Mr Green.

He of course is on record as saying that if the proposed CVA were to be rejected and the club forced into liquidation then the club dies, the history dies, and so on and so forth– but of course that was yesterday or the week before or even the week or months before that. That was the message that Mr Green wanted to convey at that time in the hope that HMRC would buckle down and accept the proposals.

Now, Mr Green seeks to sing a different tune, and recently latched on to Lord Nimmo Smith’s comments about the “club” being a continuing entity and capable of transfer from one owner to the next. He muses that if that is the case then the “club” may well in fact still be a member of the SPL and the SFA  as no matter what happened to Rangers PLC, Rangers FC are ” a continuing entity” and therefore should not be forced to apply to rejoin any body which it was always a member of– such as the SPL and the SFA. Of course this then means that all the history and so on remains– despite what he himself said earlier!

Now of course, Charles makes for a good soundbite and is mad keen to ensure that as many Rangers fans as possible take up shares in “the club” when he offers them for sale.

Yet there is the problem,– shares in what are being offered for sale? According to Charles– and following his logic— he can offer as many shares in the Rangers Football Club Ltd for sale as he wants — but that company will not actually be Rangers FC– will it? If Rangers PLC was not actually Rangers FC– then what was it that David Murray was offering for sale all those years ago? Or could it be that Charles has just got it plain wrong?

You see for some reason he did not quote Lord Nimmo Smith in full– especially that part where the learned judge gave a brief description of his interpretation of the law of clubs.

For example Charles chooses not to comment on this sentence from the learned judge:

“This is not to say that a Club has legal personality, separate from and additional to the legal personality of its owner and operator.   We are satisfied that it does not, and Mr McKenzie did not seek to argue otherwise.   So a Club cannot, lacking legal personality, enter into a contract by itself.   But it can be affected by the contractual obligations of its owner and operator.”

Earlier, Nimmo Smith said this:

“While it no doubt depends on individual circumstances what exactly is comprised in the undertaking of any particular Club, it would at the least comprise its name, the contracts with its players, its manager and other staff, and its ground, even though these may change from time to time.”

So let’s pause there.

A club is an undertaking— in other words any type of loose arrangement involving a group of people with a common purpose. If a club is not an incorporated club ( a limited company ) then to be anything other than a loose idea of a few folk getting together for a common purpose such as a holiday or a meal or to read a book or anything else– then of course it should have a formal constitution and a set of rules for its members.

So– where is the constitution for Rangers Football Club? Where are its rules of admission which says who can join? Are there certain rules that preclude you from joining? Is there a set limit on how many members there can be at any one time? Who are the officers of this club?

At the current time, Mr Green seems to be very keen on everything British and everything of a loyal and royal nature. So here is a quote from the pages of the Royal Yachting Association of Great Britain on the legal status of unincorporated clubs and so on.

“Since an unincorporated club has no legal status, it is incapable itself of owning property or being party to a contract. It is therefore standard practice to appoint trustees, who are usually required in the rules to comply with committee instructions, to hold the property (whether freehold land and buildings, yachts or a long leasehold of a reservoir) on behalf of the club members.”

Eh going by that statement – Rangers FC never owned Ibrox or Murray Park– and indeed can never own Ibrox and Murray Park. Someone had to be the trustee.

Further, it can never have been granted a licence to play football— you can’t grant a right to a non legal entity or to a body which has no legal status. You cannot accept a licensing application from a body which has no legal status. You cannot be employed by a body with no legal status.

Rangers FC has no constitution, no legal persona, is not allowed to own property ( heritable, moveable or intellectual), can’t enter into contracts and so on.

In short, Rangers FC is a body with no legal status– it does not exist and has never existed— unless it is to be found within the confines of Rangers PLC which everyone now recognises is in Administration and will soon be liquidated.

Still don’t believe me?

Ok here is a recent release by the Scottish legal commission setting out changes that they want to make to the law so that “clubs” can gain some legal status:

“In Scotland, and indeed throughout the United Kingdom, unincorporated associations are not recognised as entities separate from their members. Consequently, such organisations cannot carry out acts such as entering into contracts, owning property or engaging employees. The lack of legal personality can also give rise to unfortunate, and perhaps unforeseen, repercussions for members. For example, it is possible that, under the current law, a member of an unincorporated association could, by virtue of that membership alone, find himself or herself personally liable in delict to a third party injured at an event organised by the association. Further difficulties relating to this area of the law are set out in our Discussion Paper on Unincorporated Associations (DP 140) which was published at the end of 2008.

Our Report recommends a simple regime, with the minimum of administrative burdens, to ensure that associations and clubs are recognised as legal entities. Separate legal personality will be accorded to associations which satisfy certain conditions. The main conditions are that the association has at least two members; that its objects do not include making a profit for its members; and that it has a constitution containing certain minimum specified provisions. These provisions are: the association’s name; its purpose; membership criteria; the procedure for the election or appointment of those managing it; the powers and duties of its office-bearers; the rules for distributing its assets if it is dissolved; and the procedure for amending its constitution. Many associations will already have constitutions which contain these provisions but, for those which do not, we anticipate that style constitutions will be made available, free of charge, on the websites of organisations such as the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations”

Maybe Charles should seek some advice from the Scottish Council on Voluntary organisations? And perhaps he should note that part about not making a profit for members too!

Then again, as Lord Nimmo Smith has said the actual status of a club and who or what a club is depends on individual circumstances. So with regard to Rangers, let’s look at who would know– for example, who did Charles get “Rangers” from? Duff and Phelps of course — so what do they say?

Well they have stuck to their guns because in each and every report that they have issued to the court, the shareholders and the creditors they have included the following definition:

Rangers / the Company / the Club The Rangers Football Club Plc (In Administration), Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, G51 2XD (Company number SC004276);

Now that doesn’t really help Charles does it.

Ok so, lets ignore Craig Whyte because everyone knows that he was a diddy— let’s go to folk that are far more sensible– how about the Board of Rangers PLC before Craig Whyte– what did they have to say:

Well, here is a statement from May 2011 which seems to set out who and what the then Directors thought amounted to the club– and let’s face it– they should know!

“Further to today’s statement from Wavetower Limited (“the acquirer”), the Independent Board Committee of The Rangers Football Club plc (“the club”), comprising Alastair Johnston, Martin Bain, John Greig, John McClelland and Donald McIntyre, (”IBC”) would like to make the following statement:

“In recent weeks the IBC has been engaged with the acquirer and has secured an enhanced financial commitment from Wavetower for future investment into the club. The decision on the sale and purchase of the majority shareholding in the club firmly and ultimately rests between Murray MHL Limited (“MHL”) and Lloyds Banking Group (“LBG”).

“Although the IBC has no power to block the transaction, following its enquiries, the IBC and Wavetower have differing views on the future revenue generation and cash requirements of the club and the IBC is concerned about a lack of clarity on how future cash requirements would be met, particularly any liability arising from the outstanding HMRC case.

“Wavetower is purchasing MHL’s 85% shareholding in the club for £1 and the club’s indebtedness with LBG is to be assigned to Wavetower. This share transaction would ordinarily trigger a requirement on Wavetower under Rule Nine of The Takeover Code for a mandatory offer to be made to the other shareholders.

“Given this transaction structure and following discussions with the Takeover Panel, the IBC considers there to be no purpose in the acquirer making such an offer to acquire all other shareholdings at effectively nil value per share. Accordingly the IBC has agreed that the offer period for the club will now end.

“In agreeing that no offer should be made to all shareholders the IBC has insisted that the acquirer issues a document to all shareholders setting out the full terms of the transaction, comprehensive details on the acquirer and the sources of its funding and giving firm commitments to agreed future investment in the club.

“The IBC is committed to ensure that the transaction and future investment and funding proposals should be transparent to all the shareholders and supporters of the club”

Ah— that doesn’t really help Charles Green’s current argument either does it?

So here we are, on the cusp of the FTT ruling, with a share offering in the offing, and SPL enquiry scheduled for November and no doubt Mark Daly and the Panorama team beavering away in the background getting ready for another documentary.

The decision of the FTT may reveal yet more of what the bold AJ describes as “Administrative errors” by way of failing to administer EBT’s properly so resulting in  a massive tax bill, and the SPL enquiry may reveal further “Administrative errors” in failing to properly record player contracts for a decade, with the result that players were never properly registered in the first place and so were illegal players during championship winning games.

Yet all that is history and in the past.

Today’s Rangers has a new hero, a new commander– even though who he works for is a closely guarded secret and remains a mystery to most of us who may be interested to find out who Charles Green really is and who he represents. He seems to attack certain quarters then retreat, antagonise and appease, and has a habit of constantly contradicting himself when it suits.

In the interim he reminds me of the most famous creation of the American writer Timothy Zahn who brought about a revival in the fortunes of the Star Wars franchise, bringing it widespread attention for the first time in years. He did this by creating a new villain to follow in the footsteps of the administratively challenged and ultimately vanquished Darth Vader.

Zahn describes this new villain’s command style as considerably different from that of Darth Vader  and other typical Imperial commanders; instead of punishing failure and dissent, he promotes creativity among his crew and accepts ideas from subordinates. He is a tactical genius who has made extensive study of military intelligence and art, and is willing to retreat instead of making a stand in a losing battle.

His full name and his true origins are only known to a few select individuals of the Empire and the New Republic.

To quote Wikipedia:

“His name is ………… reminiscent of the old Scots word meaning Twisted ot Crooked.

The character’s name is……….. Thrawn.

I suspect that we are about to see some pretty Thrawn statements from a shower of Thrawn buggers as the late David Will would have said!

Make our Mind Up Time

I have been receiving quite a bit of  unflattering mail about the “agenda” being pursued on this blog. Depending on the correspondent, that is defined as  either denying people their civil right to gloat, hiding the “truth” that people of the RC faith are welcomed and encouraged to come to Ibrox, or indulging in Chamberlain-style appeasement with the banning of the “H” word and other incontrovertible rights-to-insult.

The objection to moderation of any sort appears to be at the root of these diatribes. Our position here in terms of moderation is clear. There is no “agenda” other than a desire not to be chasing up posts containing the rantings and ravings of partisan types who “demand” their right to be heard no matter how objectionable it might be to those hear it. We are not here to service a conduit for conspiracy theories based in Masonic Lodges or the Vatican. There are plenty of places where people can indulge in that kind of stuff, but the moderators here are just not interested. The administration of the site takes around four hours per day. That’s a long time trawling through posts which often set out deliberately to insult, abuse or otherwise cause offence – mildly or otherwise.

Our view is that the blog will only have cross-club support if we stick to what we can substantiate by fact or reasonably infer from the way things proceed. Further, we feel that if we are to gain credibility as an alternative source of news and comment to the MSM, that we need to cut down on the fansite type comments. There is no dignity (a word often used here) in calling the Rangers manager or their fans names. We need to maintain higher standards of impartiality than football fansites, because we know that a united fan base can actually make a difference as RTC did when the SPL chairmen were gearing up for a parachute for the new Rangers. OT discussions are fine, and often amusing, but they shouldn’t become the main reason to come here.

The requirement to have a WordPress account before posting here is not in any way draconian. It is designed to make people accountable for what they post whilst still maintaining anonymity, and therefore being exempt from moderation. Those who don’t like it are not being compelled to carry out any instruction – they only need go to a place where they don’t feel so constrained.

If the main issue of this blog becomes how the blog is being administered – or how the moderation policy is affecting the human rights of posters, we may as well just pack up now.

There have never been any objections to the suggested posting rules on here. We assume that people who post are reasonably intelligent. Therefore it seems fair to assume that those who have ignored the suggested posting rules did so deliberately. If that doesn’t happen, moderation is just not required.

If what we are trying to do fails because of our posting framework, then we will be blamed. We are certain though, that we can have no credibility if we indulge ourselves in conspiracy theories and constant references to anachronistic organisations, the Scottish school system, and the leanings of referees.

There is real corruption in Scottish football. It is based not on religious rivalries but on greed and acquisitiveness. The only thing that matters is that we identify that corruption and help put an end to it.

Our job is to ask questions and not jump to our own conclusions about the answers. That will divide us as surely as the realisation of the depth of the corruption united us. To be totally united as fans, we need to have more Rangers fans on here. Therefore we need to create an atmosphere that they can be comfortable with. Is that the case right now? The anger for RFC’s mismanagement and abuse of the game in Scotland is real, but we need to look forward if we are truly committed to ensuring that what happened to Rangers can’t happen again.

We’re not gonna throw the toys out of the pram here. If anyone else would like to run the blog under those circumstances of zero moderation, we will be happy to hand over the domain. There is no “agenda” – we will be happy to hand the work over to others.

The initial posting which proposed the change to WordPress logins received over 130 TUs and only three TDs. Subsequently the post advising of the changes got around 100 TUs and 100 TDs. It seems that minds are not entirely made up.

To get some closure on this once and for all, we have added a poll below to end on Saturday at 1700 where you can decide whether you want to go along with our original plan in terms of login and moderation. We obviously recommend that you vote “Yes”

Charles Green – What Will Football’s Authorities Do?

Charles Green has declared war on the Scottish football authorities. His statement and that of Duff and Phelps today deserve detailed analysis, which is ongoing at McConville Towers as we speak, and will be concluded as soon as Stewart Regan, Neil Doncaster and Peter Lawwell tell me what to write.

For now, I wanted to speculate if Mr Green had managed to forget the terms of the SFA Rules, under which Rangers FC was censured for his comments some time ago. Mr Green could well have forgotten, as the censure took place as long as eleven days ago.

The relevant rules are as follows:

Rule 1: All member clubs shall:
(a) observe the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship in accordance with the rules of fair play;
(b) be subject to and comply with the Articles and any statutes, regulations, directives, codes, decisions and International Match Calendar promulgated by the Board, the Professional Game Board, the Non-Professional Game Board, the Judicial Panel Protocol, a Committee or sub-committee, FIFA, UEFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport;
(c) recognise and submit to the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport as specified in the relevant provisions of the FIFA Statutes and the UEFA Statutes;
(d) respect of the Laws of the Game;
(e) refrain from engaging in any activity, practice or conduct which would constitute an offence under sections 1, 2 or 6 of the Bribery Act 2010; and
(f) behave towards the Scottish FA and other members with the utmost good faith.

Rule 2: Each member shall procure that its officials, its Team Officials and its players act in accordance with Rule 1.

Rule 66: No recognised football body, club, official, Team Official or other member of Team Staff, player, referee, or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall bring the game into disrepute.

Rule 71: A recognised football body, club, official, Team Official, other member of Team Staff, player or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall, at all times, act in the best interests of Association Football and shall not act in any manner which is improper.

Now let’s see where Mr Green might, through inadvertence, have sinned against those rules, accidentally of course. The following are extracted from his statement on the official Rangers FC website.

“Our lawyers have made that point repeatedly to the SPL in correspondence and yet our requests for an explanation from the SPL have been completely ignored. The SPL’s silence on these issues is deafening. The outcome of the SPL’s process will have no legal effect.

“Although the SPL goes to great lengths to emphasise the independence of its Commission, the Commission is not independent of the SPL. It has been appointed by the SPL. It follows SPL rules and its process is managed by SPL staff. I don’t question the impartiality of the individual panel members but whatever decision they reach is a decision of the SPL.

“Did the SPL launch an investigation? Did they appoint a Commission?  Did they ask to see EBT correspondence? Did they ask any questions at all?  No. They did absolutely nothing.

“What compounds the breathtaking hypocrisy of the SPL in this whole saga, is that the SFA, the SPL and us – as the new owners – took part in numerous discussions regarding the new company’s league status during which it was made clear that a deal was there to be done where ‘the EBT issue’ would be dealt with as part of a package of sanctions which would be implemented in return for membership of the SFA and a place in either the SPL or Division One.

“We do not accept that people who are willing to come to an agreement on such matters then have a right to instigate a full blown inquisition when matters do not unfold as they thought they would.

“In our view, it beggars belief that an authority which can be heavily involved in these discussions to the point that the Chief Executive Neil Doncaster repeatedly stated he was not interested in stripping titles from Rangers can lurch from that position to setting up its own Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Nimmo Smith.

“I must make it clear that we are not questioning for a moment the integrity of Lord Nimmo Smith and his colleagues but we believe the SPL have been hypocritical in their approach to this matter.

“Why is the SPL rushing to judgement now when it has been sitting on the matter for two years? Their haste is particularly difficult to understand when the tax tribunal judgement is imminent.

“The factual issues in both cases are identical. We have to ask why is the SPL so anxious to issue a judgement in this matter before the tax tribunal’s findings are made public.

“Nothing has changed as the judgement still has not been made public. Why is the SPL rushing ahead when in April the SFA felt it unwise to do so?

“Rangers was not the only club in Scotland to use EBTs yet nothing was done and little has been heard about it. Also, Rangers stands accused of achieving sporting advantage unfairly – yet there is little debate over the fact in all the years EBTs were in existence at Ibrox, the Club often failed to win either the league title, or the main cup competitions.

“The decision we have taken has not been taken lightly. There are powerful representatives from Clubs within the SPL – not all of them by any means – who appear hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible.

“It is lamentable that the Board and executive of the organisation have not been able to deal with this appropriately. We do not hold every SPL club in the same regard. Several clubs were placed in an invidious position and we believe their interests were not best served by those in more powerful positions.

“Furthermore, as a Club we are not satisfied that the issue of conflict of interest relating to advisers to the SPL has been satisfactorily dealt with.

“Once again I would thank our supporters for their patience and tolerance. They have been asked to take it on the chin time and again and we stand united in saying: No more.”

——————————————————

Have a read through these edited highlights once again…

The SPL’s silence on these issues is deafening … the Commission is not independent of the SPL … They (the SPL) did absolutely nothing … the breathtaking hypocrisy of the SPL in this whole saga … a full blown inquisition … it beggars belief that an authority which can be heavily involved in these discussions to the point that the Chief Executive Neil Doncaster repeatedly stated he was not interested in stripping titles from Rangers can lurch from that position … we believe the SPL have been hypocritical … There are powerful representatives from Clubs within the SPL – not all of them by any means – who appear hell bent on inflicting as much damage on Rangers as possible … It is lamentable that the Board and executive of the organisation have not been able to deal with this appropriately. We do not hold every SPL club in the same regard. Several clubs were placed in an invidious position and we believe their interests were not best served by those in more powerful positions … Once again I would thank our supporters for their patience and tolerance. They have been asked to take it on the chin time and again and we stand united in saying: No more.

——————————————————

Mr Green has issued a lengthy statement, as can be seen from the fact that what is shown above is only an extract from it. It is on the official Rangers website, and is stated to be by “Rangers Football Club”.

If this is not a declaration of war on the SPL and by extension the footballing authorities in Scotland, I don’t know what is.

I spoke to a friend who compared some of Mr Green’s recent statements to what has become known as “dog whistle politics”. There is little of the dog-whistle about this – instead it is a clear rallying cry to the loyal support of Rangers, which will, I am sure ensure that the turnstiles keep clicking at Ibrox for some time yet.

As of a few minutes ago the respective posts regarding the statement on two of the main Rangers FC fan sites showed a total of 867 posts and over 26,000 views. Not bad for a statement issued two hours ago!

I also suspect that the reaction there will be 100% positive.

Deciding that they are refusing to play and denouncing the process before the first hearing takes place is an interesting tactic. Now, if the Commission proceeds, in the absence of both oldco Rangers and newco Rangers and delivers a damning judgement, it will be ignored, it appears, by Mr Green and his company. And, if action is taken, then they propose to invoke the aid of the courts to stop disciplinary action happening.

What strikes me is that, once again, Mr Green is playing a masterful hand. He is a king of diversion. When the transfer of the SFA membership took place Mr Green said:-

“There remains, however, an outstanding issue with the SPL regarding EBTs.  As we have proved in the last couple of months we will stand up to any challenges that face Rangers and will continue to fight for the Club’s best interests.”

What he has managed to do is to build the impression that the one penalty, above all others, which newco will not accept, being the most horrendous possible, is the stripping of titles. Not being barred for all time from, membership of the SPL; not being suspended for a longer period than the next three years; not the imposition of further financial penalties…

No, the one penalty to be fought against, above all others, is one which will cost newco not a penny, and will in fact generate more support from the fans.

As I said, it is brilliant!

He has challenged the football authorities to take action, as indeed he promised he would. So much gratitude for the three ruling bodies pledging to “facilitate” Rangers entry to SFL3!

And as far as his attack on some, but not all, SPL teams, one wonders why he felt constrained from telling us who they were. After all, Ibrox is the home of clarity, transparency and free speech!

However the extracts above indicate numerous ways in which the rules quoted at the top of this piece are broken. Will the SFA have the courage of its convictions to take action? Will the SFL take any steps itself?

Or has Mr Green stared them down, and, as long as the share flotation comes along in the near future, enraptured the fans into subscribing in their thousands?

As has been the case ever since RTC started, this piece could end with the line:- we have no idea what will happen next; we will have to wait and see!

Posted by Paul McConville

Still a Battle for Survival

Apologies for the lack of activity this past few days. I had been expecting a guest blog, but it has failed to materialise thus far. I will endeavour to get that together over the next few days. In the meantine, the moderators would like to thank everyone for their cooperation in keeping some sanity in the face of the recent trolling activity. The self-policing aspect has been admirable over the last few days – as has the level of scrutiny applied to the information which has been coming in.

There have been, understandably, some comments on the blog and elsewhere about a perceived obsesssion here with Rangers and their offspring. Whilst I agree that the focus of this community should have a wider perspective, I don’t think it is obsessional to engage with the big story of the day – in fact it is neccessary that we do so.

Ultimately though TSFM’s longevity will depend on our ability to look at the wider issues, and that is at the top of our minds. We have recently been approached by some people about the possibility of our creating and publicising our own Scottish Football Financial Secrecy League in line with that created a while back for Christian Aid. That may give us some credibility as a watchdog, and utilise the expertise that many contributors have offered so freely in the past.

Right now though the new Rangers show is still headlining, and it is of interest, in the light of the impending share issue, whether the economics of running the new Rangers is really as precariously balanced as has been claimed by some of our number.

If our supsicions of Charles Green’s motives are correct, then we are bound to demonstrate why we think the share issue could be a device to either pay off Ticketus, or Green’s investors to the detriment of the fans.

If the new club’s finances are as precarious as has been stated, then it would point to the share issue being used as a cut and run exercise; but I am not at all convinced of that precariousness.

For example, I don’t accept that The Rangers are paying players an average weekly wage of even as much as £2500. I suspect that the actual figure is considerably less than that, and I hear that basic salaries for the higher quality new players is nearer the £1500 a week mark, with considerably less being offered to the younger guys. Of course performance bonuses would be added to that, but if my figure is correct, Green has a considerable amount of headroom to pay those bonuses.

On the other hand, Green will not have the sponsorship bucks, the media cash, or the prize money that old Rangers would have taken for granted, so there is a defecit there. It may also be of interest to see whether the reported figures for ST sales can be verified. I don’t think it would be churlish for Rangers fans to demand proof of that success before stumping up for a share or two, but one would have to say that reported high figures may well influence an investment decision – and in spite of those impressive numbers (35,000 STs sold) private investors still remain in hiding. It is at times like these that Adam would be an invaluable asset, bringing as he did an alternative and forensic accounting perspective to the somewhat wishful thinking of our non-Rangers tendency 🙂

If the success of Charles Green’s project is determined solely by how much money he makes, then it is in the interest of Rangers fans that any plans to line his own pockets via a share issue (if that is really his intention) are exposed. If Green’s accusers are correct (and let’s not forget that Rangers diehards like John Brown are among their number), then we would have to assume that his biggest success yet has been to get the bears onside, buying imprssively high numbers of STs, after the initial hostility he faced.

Rangers fans who have involved themsleves in critical thinking over the matter will know that some serious damage to the new club will be the result if Green is allowed to pull off any such scam, but they will also know that if he is genuinely invested in the well-being of the club, he is probably their best hope.

That is the dilemma they face.

All talk of stripping titles and history is a red-herring. The real problem for new Rangers is not lost titles or trophy notches on an Ibrox crossbar. It is, as it has been all summer long for old Rangers, survival.