Resolutions to be voted on at the 30 April meeting are proposals from the Scottish Premier League executive (Neil Doncaster). They have nothing to do with the Gang of 10 nor are they a Duff and Phelps/Rangers conspiracy. The resolutions are not set in tablets of stone and have no authority in their own right. The League has form in voting down executive resolutions, in particular overthrowing plans for a 10 team league last year, so, in theory, the votes could go for or against.
Neil Doncaster, being as thorough as he is, has almost certainly shared his plan with the man along the corridor at Hamden, SFA chief exec, Stewart Regan. He is also likely to have taken guidance from the Uefa executive, specifically CEO David Taylor, formerly of this parish. It would be unnecessarily lax to leave legislative loose ends before embarking on such a radical plan, so forget about any intervention by the SFA (cough) or Uefa.
Putting preconceived notions aside (if I can), the resolutions are flawed.
Asking for 8 clubs to vote for a Newco to be allowed into the league, but requiring 11 to vote for a financial penalty to be imposed for an Insolvency Transfer, is beyond ridiculous. The former provision – the gift of continuity to a defaulter – is easy to achieve. The latter – the punishment for defaulting – is unnecessarily difficult. Duff and Phelps will need the support of only one club – let’s say Dunfermline, who are brogue-to-brogue with them anyway and due to relegation will not be affected by the financial penalty, will vote with them. Why would Doncaster put such a high bar on setting financial penalties?
Arbitrary voting thresholds smack of gerrymandering. Can anyone explain this in any other way?
There will now be a period of debate between clubs; Celtic will oppose any provision for a Newco to enter the league. Duff and Phelps will be in the opposite corner. You can expect to hear wailing and gnashing from Rangers (IA) along the same ridiculous lines they have used ahead of the SFA hearings into the behaviour of the club in advance of, and after, Craig Whyte’s purchase of the club. On that occasion, Duff and Phelps argued that the actions of Rangers’ new owner, or the failure of the old board to conduct their business correctly, should not lead to a penalty on the club.
It doesn’t matter how lax or severe the proposed penalties, Duff and Phelps will oppose them. Anything lessening of the penalty is worth money to the proposed new buyers of Rangers, so let’s view everything Duff and Phelps say in pound notes.
Rangers have unpaid bills potentially running up to £134mm that’s medicine, operations, road repairs and Help for Heroes. Allowing them to ditch their history and start afresh, where owners profit by securing a floating charge over the stadium, where fans can continue to be provided with a team in the league, creates an unprecedented moral hazard. It rewards irresponsibility and would create a queue of clubs ready to do the same.
And on the point of ditching their history… I openly mock anyone who uses phrases like Hybrid Liquidation. You don’t get Hybrid Liquidation, Partial Liquidation or Liquidation Lite. You cannot buy or sell history, as Duff and Phelps tried (and failed, I think) to convince Rangers fans. Liquidation would mean Rangers Football Club, established in 1873 (or 1872 as they now claim), incorporated in 1899, is finished.
Just pay your bills and do us all a favour.