I’m out most of today and anticipate any number of events, so here’s a synopsis to help keep the various balls in play to mind. Apologies for the enormous number of ‘ifs’ but there are so many imponderables:
It is still possible that the Green consortium will propose a CVA. If they do, creditors will vote on it in mid-June and Rangers will be included in the SPL fixtures for next season, which will be issued before a creditors’ vote. Green will need to come up with some cash to keep the CVA alive long enough to get to the creditor’s vote, this is likely to be his most immediate problem.
If he finds the money to last until mid-June and the CVA is accepted (it won’t be) Rangers will emerge from administration and take their place in the SPL next season.
If Green cannot find a backer to pay player wages and other costs until a CVA verdict is reached, Rangers will be liquidated this week.
Once the decision has been taken not to pursue a CVA, whoever has control of the stadium can apply to the SPL to acquire the league share previously held by Rangers for entry into the league next season.
The SPL have asked Rangers to produce information relating to the alleged double contract issue in advance of the SPL general meeting tomorrow, hereafter known as Prima Facie Day. League and member clubs will officially know if Rangers have rigged the system for over a decade, or not, or if they have refused to comply with SPL instructions.
Right now there is at least a 50% chance that Duff and Phelps will not attend the meeting on Wednesday and ask the SPL to reconvene next week to give them more time to conduct an asset sale. Before the meeting, be it tomorrow or next week, Green, the Blue Knights, or an as-yet unnamed bidder, will make the best offer for the stadium and apply to the SPL to enter a Newco.
Neil Doncaster’s proposal will be discussed, as will any other suggested way forward and a vote will be taken.
While the alleged cheating may influence how some members vote, the disciplinary and Newco vote matters will take different paths. Any disciplinary action will go through due process (you know how litigious they are).
Celtic will vote against Newco. My best source reckons we are still outnumbered and that more lobbying is needed, but in all honesty, no one really knows how the vote will go. We’ll come back to the consequences of this point.
If the SPL vote against Newco the story is likely to go quiet for a number of months. At some point in the future someone is likely to apply to the Scottish Football League for a Newco, based at Ibrox, to enter the league. Alternatively, an existing SFL club may buy or rent Ibrox, change name and move there.
If the SPL vote to allow a Newco access to the league next season, it will be subject to sanctions already imposed on Rangers, like the ban on player registrations (assuming the entire project is not killed by the club being thrown out of football as a result of the Court of Session case). It will also be subject to any sanctions imposed due to the alleged cheating for over a decade.
Rangers currently have around 40 players registered. If the company goes into liquidation all players can leave as free agents. A Newco would be able to retain any players who didn’t want to leave, however, any player able to attract a competitive offer is likely to leave. TUPE laws require the new employer (Newco) to maintain pay and conditions of any staff transferring from Rangers who choose to join Newco.
If a Judicial Panel find Rangers subverted Scottish football for over a decade, any Newco awarded Rangers SPL share would be liable for Rangers punishment. This may well be expulsion from the SFA. There is no set timescale for such hearings although the SFA have a new and faster process.
To summarise the (known) unknowns:
Charles Green doesn’t know if creditors will accept a CVA and will need to pay to find out. He doesn’t know how the SPL will vote or what punishment a Judicial Panel would impose if Rangers are found to have cheated.
The SPL still don’t know if they will have an application to consider, and if they do, who it will come from. They also don’t know how a Judicial Panel will punish Rangers or a Newco.
The SFA know nothing, apart, perhaps, from what school their staff went to.
Craig Whyte, Charles Green and his investors, the Blue Knights, Rangers management, players, staff and fans don’t know if there will be any football team playing at Ibrox again.
None of them know the most intriguing question of all, what is the next thing to arrive from left field (unknown, unknowns)? No one believes the story is at an end.
So what about Celtic?
A future within Scotland is no longer tenable, no matter what happens. Rangers are a busted flush. They are either dead, fatally wounded or completely trashed. The SPL is, to put it mildly, flawed. We have outgrown the game here socially, morally and economically. Scottish football holds nothing for us apart from straightforward access to the Champions League. The possible vote and on-going inquiries will change nothing in this respect.
Celtic will have a future but it must be beyond Scotland. It’s time to find another league and move.