In response to some of the more excitable comments from yesterday it might be worthwhile painting the possible scenarios for Rangers.
If Bill Miller is unable to complete the sale (remember, he’s not even paid the deposit and has no intention of doing so), the club will reach the end of the season and run out of money. It will then either expire completely or Duff and Phelps will try to cut a deal with Ticketus to allow Rangers to sell season tickets and retain more of the money than they are currently due.
Rangers could continue to operate in administration for a while to come; Motherwell were in administration for one week short of two years. The club would be unable to afford player wages after they return to normal in 1 June so would be forced to pare the squad back, whether the ban on player registration remains or not.
Miller completes purchase and the SPL vote him into the league
If Miller completes his purchase, as it stands, the SPL board will have discretion to transfer an insolvent club’s share in the league to a Newco. Neil Doncaster has pinned his colours to the mast on this issue, Steve Lomas explained St Johnstone’s willingness to also vote Newco in. Celtic will vote against which means if either Motherwell or Dundee United vote in favour of Newco, they will be allowed into the league.
I have no doubt that both Motherwell and Dundee United will vote in favour of Newco. The SPL will vote to introduce a new procedure for dealing with Newco on Monday but it’s far from clear this proposal will get enough support.
For Miller, there are complications with this issue. He would inherit all football and financial penalties due for Rangers and would also be expected to pay Rangers football debts – around £3.5m.
You can largely ignore the £160k Fit and Proper fines from the SFA but the SPL inquiry into Improper Registration of Players for over a decade will be the biggest charge in the history of British sport. We should be looking at fines commensurate with the financial benefits accrued and multi-year sporting punishments.
If the SPL rule amendments Newco are rejected on Monday (as I expect), there are some who are concerned SPL board will impose lighter penalties than those suggested by Neil Doncaster’s new rules.
Alternatively, Miller could tell the SPL to stuff it and apply to the Scottish Football League. Ally McCoist has already threatened this in response to the already-imposed fines and the notion is popular among Rangers fans I know. If the did this, Newco would not have to pay Rangers football debts and would be subject to no penalties or player registration bans. They could budget for three years of lower-league football and then tool up for the summer of 2015.
You can expect some though talking from Rangers on going to the Third Division in an attempt to spook the SPL into offering limited, single-season penalties.
Among the many unknowns, we can be sure of a few things:
Rangers Football Club, established in 1872, is finished.
Some form of phoenix will happen, if not for next season, then probably by 2013.
The SPL will complete the inquiry into Improper Registration of players, whether Rangers exist or not. If a Newco is granted Rangers SPL share, penalties will be punitive.
Notions that ‘Rangers’ are going to emerge debt-free, strong and able to compete as though nothing has happened is simply nonsense. Their club is dead. They will start a new club, it will either be back in the SPL unhindered in 2015 (or 16) or will be in the SPL next season, heavily burdened for many years to come.
My prediction is for the latter.
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