Huge result from the SFA Judicial Panel Tribunal tonight, absolutely enormous, perhaps the biggest decision ever made in Scottish football history. Rangers have been banned from signing players over 18-years-old, for a period of 12 months and fined £160k.
For months Scottish football has lived under some huge moral questions; would the combined forces of TV contracts, the Bank of Scotland and the formidable Rangers lobby combine to subvert the meritocratic spirit of sport and see rules written to see Rangers kept afloat.
The SFA Judicial Panel Tribunal made these questions moot. In the event that Rangers fail to agree a CVA with creditors and emerge as a Newco, and IF that Newco is allowed to inherit the SPL share given up by Rangers, the Newco will be unable to sign any players of 18 years or older.
Although the SPL and SFA are able to transfer Rangers league share to a Newco, player employment contracts are with the current company, so players would not be contracted to any new company. An SPL Newco would need to compete with 16 and 17-year-olds.
Conversely, there is nothing to stop a new football club, Rangers United, for example, sharing Firhill and applying to the Scottish Football League, from signing players of any age. A new football club like this would inherit no financial or football punishment from Rangers FC. Anyone aspiring to fill the gap left by Rangers would do well to navigate their plans in this direction.
In fact, scrub that first sentence, this is the biggest decision ever made in Scottish football history, no perhaps about it.
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