I caught an online synopsis of Rangers’ owner Craig Whyte’s recent meeting with a group of the club’s fans last night. The group report that Whyte hopes, “’Rangers Football Club Plc’ could survive any administration event but feels it would not be the end of the world if it didn’t.”
We can all agree, it sure wouldn’t be the end of the world if that particular entity didn’t survive, although I suspect Mr Whyte is alluding to the possibility of a new club emerging. Celtic Quick News first raised the liquidation scenario back in October and explained a prepack route for Rangers Newco FC. If a football company goes into liquidation a secured creditor, in Rangers case this would be Craig Whyte, can retain control of key assets, such as the stadium, but would not own a football club which was part of any league structure.
In Scotland any Newco FC would have to apply for membership of the Scottish Premier League or Scottish Football League. A simple majority of the SPL board (three votes required) would be enough to vote a club into the SPL. The board currently has representatives from Celtic, Dundee United, Motherwell and St Johnstone, as well as SPL chief exec, Neil Doncaster. It is chaired by Ralph Topping, who only votes in the event of a stalemate.
If Rangers lose their tribunal against Her Majesty’s tax authorities (think of her underequipped soldiers), Celtic will not be the only club who will consider the commercial and competitive disadvantage they suffered while paying their taxes for the last 12 years, but they may be one of the few clubs that would survive without the sponsorship and TV income dependent on a club with the Rangers brand participating in the league. Celtic would vote against allowing Rangers into the league but I can see zero chance of Dundee United, St Johnstone, Motherwell or Neil Doncaster doing the same. If the board voted Newco FC into the league, the liquidation of Rangers would not be the end of the world; a football club would die but another could quickly emerge at the same location, selling tickets to the same people.
Opening positions on what sporting cost Newco FC should face for league entry were taken months ago when it was reported that Rangers would fight “tooth and nail” against a 25 point penalty on a Newco. A 25 point penalty on the phoenix of a failed club after 12 seasons of financial benefit would be an insufferable insult. This amounts to little more than a the loss of a single league title. 12 seasons of benefit should result in a 12 seasons of penury at the insolvency-event rate of 10 points per season. Small cost for the enormous gift of a league place and a huge football franchise. The SPL must also strike from the record any financially doped titles won by clubs still in existence or not.
Can you imagine if Peter Lawwell said, “It wouldn’t be the end of the world if Celtic PLC didn’t survive”! There would be an impromptu media village outside Celtic Park that would rival the Obama inauguration in size. Huge story sitting on a plate just waiting to be written up. Or not.
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