We have spoken before that preliminary positions are being established ahead of the much-anticipated outcome of HM Revenue and Customs tribunal against Rangers with the possibility that, in the event the decision goes in favour of HMRC, the company could go into liquidation. This weekend brought a fresh attempt to pitch a positive scenario in favour of Rangers.
One newspaper sought solace in the case Parma, stating that the Italian club was allowed to re-emerge in Serie A after going out of business in 2004.
Unfortunately this is a complete misrepresentation of the facts, as far as Parma is concerned, precedent points to an entirely different outcome. Parma went into administration on 28 April 2004 after Parmalat, the dairy company which owned a majority of their shares, also went into administration. Parma remained in administration for three years before emerging after a successful restructuring of their debts. The club was then bought by a new company – but crucially – continuity of football operations was possible because there was no liquidation and debts were restructured in a way consistent with prevailing administration laws, that allowed a company to continue trading.
This, however, is not the end of the precedent Parma can offer Neil Doncaster and his SPL board. In 1968 AC Parma went into liquidation and disappeared from existence. They are an ex-football club, to use a phrase I can see creeping into the local lexicon soon.
Shortly after the failure and permanent disappearance of AC Parma, another club, AC Parmense, who were newly promoted into Sere D, changed their livery to match their better known former-neighbours and changed name to AC Parma. It was this club, AC Parma-formerly-known-as-AC Parmenese, who were promoted through the divisions and went on to win three European trophies.
Precedent from Italy is clear: if a large SPL club is liquidated an opportunity exists for Clyde FC to change their name, ditch the white shirts, rent a large, vacant, stadium and try to work their way through the leagues. Just as Airdrie United-formerly-known-as-Clydebank, are attempting to do.
There are no free tickets to the elite level of Scottish football.