The SFA Judicial Panel Disciplinary Tribunal sit for the first time today to examine Rangers Uefa licence application in 2011, the subject of which was picked up by the ‘Res 12’ group of Celtic shareholders. This application was made under Craig Whyte’s memorable tenure which saw the club withhold tax payments before the eventual appointment of liquidators.
Evidence of what took place was eventually heard in open court, at Whyte’s trial in Glasgow last year. Rangers did not declare to the SFA they failed to make tax payments and should not have been granted a Uefa licence. As a consequence, Celtic, who finished second in the league that year, were denied a chance to participate in the Champions League qualifiers.
So far, so clear, but then the matter becomes subject to issues not heard in court, specifically the Five Way Agreement between the SFA, the (now defunct) Scottish Football League, the Scottish Premier League (now the Scottish Professional Football League), oldco Rangers (now also defunct) and Sevco Scotland (now newco Rangers).
This Agreement gave Sevco Scotland associate membership of the SFA and a place in the Scottish Football League in return for accepting some, though not all, of Rangers football penalties. Newco When the SFA announced this Tribunal, Newco did not contest the guilt of Oldco, instead suggesting they had agreement of immunity on this matter. The SFA clearly believe differently.
The Judicial Panel will first decide on its competency to hear the matter, based on whatever partial immunity Charles Green secured for Newco in 2012. If the terms of the immunity is not sufficient to exempt the worst excesses of Craig Whyte, the panel’s punishment of Oldco will apply to Newco.
The extent of this one is significant, effectively cheating to gain entry to the Champions League. I expect nothing less than a multi-year ban from European competition.
You will notice people switch seats of the Newco/Oldco debate with this subject.
Craig Whyte appointed administrators who would release the name ‘Rangers’ and associated intellectual property to Newco, unlike administrators at Airdrieonians in 2002, who refused the then Clydebank to rename themselves Airdrieonians. The name was subsequently changed to Airdrieonians in 2013.
Whyte’s plan was to buy the brand name from Rangers administrators and put the Scottish football authorities on the spot. In buying the assets from the administrators, Green had control of the name by the time of the Five Way Agreement, and he accepted some liabilities as a price for entry on the nod into Scottish football.
This resulted in a debate that will never end. Newco claim continuity with Oldco when selling tickets, but not so much at times like this. No ‘Say No to liquidation’ banners were noted in the asset register.
Green claimed Sevco Scotland “bought the history” from administrators Duff and Phelps (you will not be surprised to learn ‘the history’ was not on the asset list purchased). Now lawyers for Green’s one-time rival for Oldco’s assets will try to fortify his work.
We’ll see if Dave King’s recent sabre-rattling has been effective.