Lots of stuff today! The papers are full of it! (News I mean!)
Are you sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin.
The Rangers Website + Why Let Duff & Phelps Be Appointed
Let’s commence with the position regarding the notice on the website, or lack of it.
One of my readers, Joseph, posted the following comment here.
“Re Paragraph 45 of Schedule B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986, “when a company is in administration, … the company website must specify that the company is in administration and who the administrators are. It is an offence by the administrators, officers of the company and the company not to do so.”
I checked the website yesterday (Feb 16) and there was still no mention of the administrators. Intrigued by this I emailed Companies House for an explanation. The following is the reply:
THE RANGERS FOOTBALL CLUB PLC – SC004276
According to company records the Appointment of Administrator form has not yet been registered. Therefore there are no details on file yet of who has been appointed as Administrator.
There is a 7 day time limit for notifying Companies House, and the administrator is required to publish a required notice as soon as reasonably practicable. Today’s Edinburgh Gazette contains the Statutory Notice. You can find the extract from the Gazette here – Edinburgh Gazette notice of Administration Rangers
The notice confirms that the appointment of administrators was by “Notice of Appointment”. This means that it was Rangers board (Messrs Ellis and Whyte) who appointed the administrator. An application for administration by the company cannot be granted if there is a court application for an administrator outstanding. This proves that HMRC’s priority this week was to get an administrator in on Tuesday. The identity was not the most important thing; it was the fact of an administrator that mattered.
As HMRC got their application to court before Rangers lodged its notice of appointment, HMRC could have insisted. However that would have left them with the prime responsibility of ensuring an ongoing Rangers was funded, and I suspect Mr Whyte would have been less than co-operative with HMRC.
HMRC were also awarded the expenses of the application. The judge, Lord Menzies, saw this therefore as an appropriate application.
HMRC managed to avoid the situation where their appointed administrator might have put Rangers into liquidation, with the potential political fall out that might have caused.
To appoint an administrator, the directors need to make a sworn declaration that the company is, or is about to be, unable to pay its debts. It is an offence for a person to make a declaration which is false or which the person making it does not reasonably believe to be true.
The fact that Mr Whyte was not suggesting that some cataclysmic event, such as the FTT(T) declaring, put the club in a position where it could not pay its debts, and that he had appreciated its difficulties from early in his tenure, seems to suggest that there will be very serious questions about when he realised that the company was insolvent. Especially if there is a large loss of tax to HMRC, it is likely that there will be a close examination of whether or not there was any trading whilst insolvent.
As the “old board” were concerned about this, took advice about it, and decided that the way to obviate the risk was to “ring fence” season ticket income, then one wonders what advice Mr Whyte had to the effect that these would not be concerns, even though he was selling off 4 years worth of season tickets at one go for running costs, and putting, it would appear, the funds other than into Rangers!
I am sure however that his activities were motivated by nothing other than sound advice.
No Bail Out says Scottish Sports Minister
Scotzine.com went direct to the Scottish Sports Minister, Shona Robison, after her comments, echoed by First Minister Alex Salmond, which seemed to indicate Scottish Executive support for Rangers in its present plight.
Amid frantic sounds of backtracking, Ms Robison indicated that no public money would be provided to bail out Rangers. She emphasised her concern for jobs at Rangers, and also confirmed that the company should pay its dues.
She also commented that it was far too early to predict the outcome of the process. I wonder if she said that to the administrators, who seem very confident in what they have to say!
It was also thought that any government assistance would have been illegal under European State Aid rules, and also that it would have breached the rules of UEFA and FIFA in relation to Government intervention in football, which is not something the ruling bodies of world football appreciate.
More to follow –
re Mr Whyte suing the BBC;
How newspapers work;
The administrators’ latest statement; and
Mr Whyte’s cri de couer.