Finally the penny is beginning to drop with the powers that be in Hampden, they are slowly starting to realise that not only are they risking losing their biggest revenue generating club from the SPL, but thanks to the orchestrated campaign bring waged in the mhedia, by other fans and by people who generally know nothing, they may actually lose Rangers for good
How can this be?
Well thanks to all the nonsense regarding Rangers having to be punished and it’s necessary to maintain the “Sporting Integrity” of the Scottish game, people are starting to believe it. As a result, many fans who don’t even understand the changes to the offside rule, never mind the financial implications of Rangers not being part of Scottish football, never mind the SPL are calling for them to be refused entry to the leagues.
There has been such a frenzy whipped up over the last few weeks that means most people now have an opinion on the subject and are screaming that the fans must be consulted, they must have their say, thus forcing Chairmen into a very difficult decision, a lose/lose situation.
It’s got so bad even SFL clubs, Non-League Clubs and juniors are beginning to scream that it shouldn’t be allowed!
Does this mean the Fat Lady is Warming Up?
No, not quite and its not a situation I’d like to be in, but there is a glimmer of hope for these Chairmen yet, and it came from an unlikely source in a Sports Law Specialist.
The Bell is now Tolling on the death of not only Rangers but the whole of Scottish Football, that is, until yesterday, when David Roberts gave them the excuse they needed.
Yesterday, David Roberts explained how SPL club Chairmen and Directors could be sued for, and found guilty of failing to protect the statutory interests of their Clubs and Shareholders, if they failed to maximise the potential income for their clubs. Now his argument is that basically, without Rangers in the SPL, then the clubs will make less money, therefore by refusing them entry to the top flight they had failed in said Statutory Duties.
In simple terms, if they refuse Rangers entry to the SPL, there is NO GUARANTEE that the SFL would vote to allow them entry, therefore they could effectively consign Scottish football to Oblivion, finishing it off for good.
How can this be avoided?
Currently there is no mechanism for automatic relegation between the SPL and the SFL, just a gentlemans agreement where the SFL can nominate a team for inclusion to the SPL at the end of each season (usually the Division One Champions) who would replace the team nominated by the SPL to enter the SFL (usually the team who finish bottom of the SPL) that is it. Effectively the SPL is a private members club, whose entry policy is one of invite only, rather than obligation.
So in order to keep Rangers within the Scottish League setup without a vote the SPL need to do 3 simple things, yes it will be seen as a stitch up, but thats the beauty of the SPL being a private members club, they CAN make the rules up as they go along!
These 3 Changes Explained
1. The SPL have to change the rules around newco entry
Simply put, the SPL clubs need to change the rules (effective immediately) to stipulate that the ultimate sanction for bringing the SPL into disrepute is demotion to SFL Division One.
2. The SPL clubs need to vote Rangers back into the SPL
Once Rangers are in the SPL they are immediately back within the Scottish League setup, and are now subject to SPL rules, including the most recent change above.
3. The SPL must then charge Rangers with bringing the SPL into disrepute
This is quite self explanatory, the SPL then charge Rangers for bringing the game into disrepute for using the newco route as a vehicle for shedding an embarrassing amount of debt.
After said Kangaroo Court, Rangers are found guilty and are nominated to replace Ross County in SFL Division One, with demotion being seen as their punishment, therefore under said gentleman’s agreement the SFL must accept them to allow Ross County promotion.
Also because Rangers will have been “punished” by the SPL for the newco situation, the club would then be free of any further sanctions being applied by the SFL.
What does this mean then?
After all this has happened you are left with the following situation:
SPL Chairman can say they completed their “Statutory Duties” to protect the finances of their clubs by re-admitting Rangers to the SPL. It’s not their fault that the SPL then applied a punishment which then removed them from the league.
Rangers are parachuted into the SFL without a vote, avoiding the risk of them not being granted membership. Also it allows for Divisions Two & Three to be bypassed, all in the name of “Sporting Integrity” you understand.
The SKY deal has damage limitation applied to it, and Rangers have a chance to retain some players and rebuild quicker.
Is any of this Right, Fair or Protecting ” Sporting Integrity”
In a word? NO!
But unfortunately in the current climate it is the most likely outcome in all of this sorry situation. The SPL clubs can claim Rangers have been “severely punished” despite the current rules on insolvency showing they already have been punished to the full extent allowed by them, and them some because of the additional regulations surrounding the creation of a newco.
So don’t be surprised by any of this happening, it’s pretty clear that deals have been done and things are already happening, personally I think it’s self preservation by the other clubs while trying to appease their fans by showing that the Big Bad Rangers have been punished for being naughty.
What would I do when it’s over
The first thing that I would be ensuring if I was the owner of Rangers is that the leagues were merged and that the rules should be rewritten immediately. I would want it to be put in writing that in future any, and I mean any club who has to use the newco route is automatically demoted to Division Three as punishment, no ifs, no buts, no maybes, that’s it.
Granted it won’t help our current situation, but it will mean clarity for any of our haters who “unfortunately” end up in the same situation, and will ensure that the “Sporting Integrity” that they so desperately crave is adhered to, because it will happen, and to more than you think.