I was speaking to someone with only a notional interest in football last week who complained about football fans logic on several fronts including the notion of History.
I was asked, “What does it matter if a Rangers Newco playing at Ibrox being supported by the same people have an intangible claim to what happened in the past?
“Their memories remain, they cannot relive the past, what matters most is the future.”
Only a non-football fan could think like this, of course. History is the context for whatever happens today, without it, the game is diminished, but we are now in a fascinating debate. In practical terms, Rangers history could become quite a burden with the next few weeks.
The SPL are currently undertaking an inquiry into alleged illegal registration of players at Rangers during the 13 years before Craig Whyte rescued the club from the old board. Hundreds of football matches could have been played, many trophies ‘won’ with footballers ineligible to play.
If these allegations are proven, games involving ineligible players will be marked as 3-0 defeats. So much for the history, but what about the punishment?
Our friends at STV suggest that the SPL hold the view that the transfer of a league share from a liquidated company to a Newco would inherit historical rights from the liquidated party’s past. For Rangers Newco, this would include penalties for around 500 games played by Rangers FC with invalidly registered footballers.
The tariff of which could sink even the healthiest balance sheet.
But still, if liquidated, Rangers FC, founded around 1872 and incorporated in 1899 would cease. Newco can play wherever they like, it would be a new club. The law would protect it from misdeeds of the old company while any assets, such as the badge design, film archive or historic Arsenal shares could be purchased by any third party, including Newco. And before you bid, owning the badge design does not make you Rangers any more than if you acquired Rangers SPL share.
We’ve been told you can buy and sell history in recent weeks which is clearly nonsense but in finding a path through this subject you need to ask what is in the power of each and any organisation or group to affirm.
The SPL can transfer a share in the league and, in conjunction with the SFA, player registrations. Both can also impose outstanding disciplinary measures.
Duff and Phelps can sell the badge design independent of the league share.
Craig Whyte can sell the stadium independent of all of the above.
No one can sell, buy or transfer 140 years of history, which is why football fans recoil at suggestions of a Newco replacing their team.
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