Green, Whyte…Gold?

In recent weeks we have seen the demise of Bill Miller, the death rattle of the Blue Knights and finally a ratified takeover by Mr Charles Green.

You would struggle to make it up: Whyte, Green …All Rangers need is former SPL Executive and current Caledonian Macbrayne Director Lex Gold on board for the conspiracy theorists to really start their work.

Since the introduction of Mr Green I have been somewhat dismayed by some Rangers fans. Do not get me wrong; the majority have remained sceptical on the matter but realise that as the last train leaving the station there is little choice or hope from elsewhere and fully accept the long struggle ahead.

Other sections: well…they hear the words ‘far east investors’ and start contemplating if they should get Messi or Ronaldo on the back of their new home top.

‘War chest’ – now isn’t that a word I have heard before? ‘Billions’ – oppse, there is another.

I am not sure if there is something in the air around Murray Park but it appears that any Rangers owner to enter the door of the complex leaves again without their full senses.

I am fully prepared to back Mr Green’s takeover of Rangers. Of course I am. The news last week of his ‘unconditional’ offer for the club – legally a very strong word – was the transfusion that removed Rangers, temporarily, from life support. However, intensive care will remain its home for a long time to come.

The C.V.A.? I have stated at length on this page in previous blogs about my sceptical outlook on the C.V.A.; due to the nature of the creditors involved. I wish Mr Green all the best in arranging his C.V.A. however I am totally unsure as to the viability of such. Mr Prediction at present would be around a 70% – 30% chance, with the lesser sum being the chance of approval.

This hasn’t stopped the redtops doing their work however. Convinced Rangers have been saved due to the fact Mr Green pertinently ‘owned’ half of them in a press conference, they have blasted ahead with stories of glorious returns for Rhino Guttuso and Nacho Novo.

Sorry, but if you are prepared to scrape the barrel for stories about two guys, three eyes and a combined age of approx.. 70 then it doesn’t really show Scottish Football in a particularly great light. Never mind: both are Ibrox legends, both we’re quality footballers and after a season of complete turmoil this is exactly what some of the more easily led Rangers fans needed to hear.

One small problem, a one season transfer embargo.

Naturally that will be overturned on the 16th May 2012: oh, wait…it is now the 17th May, and it has been upheld.

Rather unadvisedly I decided to browse some forums to see the opinions of the masses. The general outlook from one half of the city is that this is poetic justice, a change in the tide, the brilliant work of Celtic and Peter Lawwell, the legacy of Paul Mcbride QC – and a whole host of other rubbish that I decided to stop reading after a few lines. Most included violence. Incidentally, after the aggravated assault on a member of the Ibrox staff by a group of Celtic fans (art and part) I would like to ask why this was also brushed under the carpet by the tabloid papers. I shall leave it at that…because; of course…only Rangers do bad things. Yeah, Pot, Kettle….

The other side of Glasgow? Well, naturally claims of bias, no one likes us, let’s ruin their Olympics, lets ruin their showcase Cup Final, lets tell their sponsors were no buying their stuff anymore yadda yadda yadda.

I shudder to think what was meant by ‘ruin’, the statement was never qualified as a protest or all out anarchy. I am sure that idea is also subjective within the minds of many of the supporters. I hope it does not happen.

So, was this transfer embargo unjust or not? Let us see.

First of all, it would appear that Rangers claim was simply that the club should not be punished for the actions of a director: Craig Whyte.  The argument does indeed hold moral stance (since we all deal in morals these days) – it has often been stated in business that a Directors actions should not in turn be allowed to bring the company he act’s for to its knees. There is a wide duty of a director that is set out in the companies act but what we need to remember, and something I have alluded to many times in my ramblings is that Rangers F.C. are a separate legal entity from Craig Whyte. Rangers F.C. in that nature have the ability to enter into contracts, have their own bank books and sue or to be sued. It is on this basis that I have often stated that any ‘newco’ would not need to live by the ‘sanctions’ imposed by the SPL/SFA as it would be a separate legal entity to that of Rangers F.C. It is also on this basis that the club would not be liable for any of the old clubs debts. Unfair? It is the beauty of limited business and it is exactly why Rangers cannot have their cake and eat it. Rangers F.C were the club charged, as a member club of the SFA, not Craig Whyte (In relation to the transfer embargo….Mr Whyte did indeed face separate charges).

The panel, on appeal, stated this:

“It was competent for the disciplinary tribunal to impose the additional sanction of prohibiting registrations of any new players of 18 years or older for a period of 12 months.
The disciplinary tribunal was correct to determine that the conduct involved – especially the deliberate non-payment of very large sums, estimated in excess of £13m of tax in the form of PAYE, NIC and VAT – was attributable to the club as a member of the Scottish FA.

Although the Appellate Tribunal has listened carefully to the representations from Rangers FC about the practical effects of the additional sanction, it has concluded that this sanction was proportionate to the breach, dissuasive to others and effective in the context of serious misconduct.”

The first part would appear to ratify my belief on the legal entity. The second part would imply that Rangers defence, through their Q.C. Richard Keen was on the ‘effect’ it would have on Rangers. Some mitigation so to speak.Sadly for him it would appear that the case was dealt with on its own merits (as it should) and did not take into consideration the financial plight of Rangers F.C. at this time (As it should – far trial and all that, again – this works both ways). Richard Keen is quite simply one of the best in the country; if any loophole were to be exposed you can guarantee that the ‘Rottweiler’ would have found it. Incidentally, the SFA were fronted by Gary Allan Q.C.

Rangers administrators Duff & Phelps claimed that, “The decision by the appellate tribunal to uphold the sanction, namely the suspension of registration of players for one year, is not competent in the view of the Club and its legal advisers.” Followed by, “Such a sanction was not available to the tribunal”.

So what is the basis of Duff & Phelps reasoning on this matter?

First of all, what are the grounds of appeal?

Permitted Grounds of Appeal

12.7 Subject to Paragraphs 12.5 and 15.7, findings on fact at first instance shall be final

and an appeal shall only be permitted on one or more of the following grounds:

12.7.1 The tribunal failed to give the Appellant a fair hearing;

12.7.2 The tribunal acted out with its powers;

12.7.3 The tribunal issued a Determination which it could not properly have

Issued on the facts of the case;

12.7.4 The sanction(s) imposed by the tribunal was excessive or inappropriate.

I would presume that Rangers argument was based on  12.7.2, 12.7.3 and possibly 12.7.4.

The part of the Judicial Panel Protocol that covers sanctions for bringing the game into disrepute specifies the following sanctions:

-Fine
-Suspension
-Expulsion from the game
-Ejection from Scottish Cup
-Termination

Now it is clear what sanctions the tribunal may impose, the next bit is the clincher.

It is in black and white in section 11.5.4 of the JPP that:

In Determining an appropriate sanction, and on the basis of its consideration of the range of breach, as set out in Paragraph 11.4, the Tribunal should Determine the appropriate sanction and level of sanction with reference to the guidance on sanctions and Scale of Sanctions provided in the Disciplinary Rules.

(11.4 basically says that the panel must consider all factors in relation to the charge and in mitigation when determining what sanction to impose).

Put simply, in relation to a charge of bringing the game into disrepute, the Judicial Panel Protocol does not allow for any other sanctions to be imposed than the ones that are listed, and a ban on player registrations is not in the list.

Open and shut case for Rangers then? No…..see, you need to read the whole document and not just the parts you want to. Take note: Duff & Phelps.

“The sanction for each incident and/or breach of the Disciplinary Rules shall not

exceed the Maximum sanction in respect of each separate incident and/or breach

of the Disciplinary Rules.”

Also:

11.4 Where the Tribunal has discretion in its Determination of the appropriate

sanction(s) in respect of a breach of the Disciplinary Rules, the Tribunal should

generally:

11.4.1 Consider the appropriate description of the alleged breach, with reference

to the particular Disciplinary Rule(s);

11.4.2 Consider whether the breach was committed either (i) intentionally, with

Deliberate action; and/or (ii) recklessly, where the Party’s actions were not

Intentional, but were careless; and/or (iii) whether the risk of committing

An act of breach was or should have been apparent

Also: for evidence, I would point in the direction of ANNEX A:

Basically, the maximum is expulsion from the SFA. In this case, a transfer embargo (cannot register players) did not exceed the maximum. It may not be on the specific list; however, there are discretionary measures in place within the SFA Disciplinary charter to allow such powers to the panel. Therefore 12.7.2 is dealt with, 12.7.3 is dealt with and 12.7.4 – a ‘reasonableness’ test, would also seem to be satisfied.

In other words the panel had to decide if the punishment was proportionate to the crime, would it deter others from doing it and in relation to the fact Rangers would have ‘benefited’ from not paying £13million in tax. The argument is not if Rangers did not pay tax, clearly Mr Whyte was the man to pull those strings – however, in the question of ‘did Rangers benefit’ then the simple answer is yet as they would have been £13million short without it and hence would have had cash flow problems long before Valentine’s Day.  Proportionate? If you consider that expulsion was considered then yes; an embargo is nothing compared to expulsion. Deter? In the current climate, possibly not – some clubs would perhaps quite like not being able to sign players and therefore having no fan pressure to do so. That depends what edge of the sword you choose to look at.

Overall?

I still believe that through all of this….Rangers (in some format) will emerge in the SPL and do just swimmingly. It is not blind faith, it is just a belief. I have been wrong on many occasions when I have believed Rangers were days away from oblivion and have often found myself at a loss as to how many lives a cat can have. I have also been wrong for a reason….the reason being that somewhere, someone is pulling the chords in Rangers favour.

After all that has happened, I believe it is time to put the head down and prove everyone wrong – not kick and scream and declare war for something that Rangers did wrong. A bit of humility is all that I ask.

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One Comment on “Green, Whyte…Gold?”

  1. 1wuggy Says:

    As always Garry you see it the way it is and don’t hide from the hard questions or answers. When the big tax case result is announced or maybe afer Mark Daly’s new documentary,
    I think the Bears will be happy to go out of buisness and start a New Club My own personal opinion is that any New Club will be playing in Div3, whenever it’s formed, I just don’t see St Mirren, Celtic, Hibs, Hearts and Ross County voting to allow a New Club into the SPL. I also think that now the appeal has been dismissed then DIV3 is the best starting point for any New Club. Fans like to see a winning team, they are fickle and will easily accept a win against Elgin as a win against Motherwell.
    The Bears will revel in the sense of injustice of it all and rally round to support the New Club, who knows they could even draw Celtic in the cup and produce a giant killing act to rival Berwick or Inverness Caley. It also gives time to build a desent squad and find a new manager, I don’t see Ally at Ibrox long term. His record, even given the circumstances, is pretty abismal. If not for the fact that he is a Rangers ledgend then he would have been away in January.

    “Incidentally, after the aggravated assault on a member of the Ibrox staff by a group of Celtic fans (art and part) I would like to ask why this was also brushed under the carpet by the tabloid papers. I shall leave it at that…because; of course…only Rangers do bad things. Yeah, Pot, Kettle….”

    Many things are not reported by the media, that’s just the way it is in Scotland. I understand a report was made to Strathclyde Police and given as there are several videos doing the rounds on FB, I would suspect if that it would be easy enough to apprehend the alledged culprit.


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