A group of Westminster MPs are set to accommodate administrators Rangers FC PLC in London tomorrow in the hope of using whatever influence they have to pull a deal together. Political interference in distressed companies is not uncommon but on this occasion the risks of collateral damage are enormous.
Fifa strictly prohibits political interference in football matters and has banned national teams and their representative clubs from international competition for matters as trivial as politically motivated appointments, never mind overt political lobbying on behalf of a football club in tax delinquency.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, commented on Rangers situation last week, although unlike Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, he limited himself to a neutral comment, however, I hear that Treasury officials have already been lobbied to exert pressure on HM Revenue and Customs to agree to whatever necessary to prevent Rangers from suffering the consequences of not paying tax.
Ironically, it’s Celtic and the Scotland national team who are set to suffer. Craig Levein hopes to take his Scotland team into the World Cup qualifying tournament in September while Neil Lennon will hope to give his Celtic team a chance to qualify for the Champions League. Fifa would be delighted to take the British government and football associations down a notch or two after the accusations of bribery at the international body emanating from England when their bid to host the World Cup perished.
Duff and Phelps have nothing to lose from meeting the MPs but with so much at stake for Scotland, Celtic and our other European entrants next season, the Scottish and London politicians must rein-in their over political interference and the SFA must get off their backsides and remind everyone of Fifa rules.