Charles Green’s Statement Tonight Regarding Rangers’ Appeal – Words Fail Me (Not Really)

Mr Green, who is the man in pole position to take over the running of Rangers, has issued a statement tonight. As it follows on from my last couple of posts, I thought I would offer some commentary on it.

With the greatest of respect to Mr Green, I think his statement tonight is nonsense. He mis-states some of the effects of Lord Glennie’s decision; he talks about wanting a speedy resolution, whilst at the same time flagging up various reasons for delay; he repeats the “received wisdom” that as the people responsible for the “misdeeds” as he calls them are no longer there at Ibrox, this should temper the sanction imposed, notwithstanding that Rangers benefited from those same “misdeeds”; and he cites the good of Scottish football as reasons for a reduced penalty, whilst grossly overstating the importance of Rangers’ position in the Scottish Cup.

As is usual, my thoughts are noted in bold where relevant.

Take it away Mr Green!

——————————————

CHARLES GREEN, who is leading a consortium to purchase Rangers Football Club, issued the following statement today.

He said: “On behalf of the consortium purchasing the Rangers Football Club, it is my firm view that it is vitally important for the current issue of the SFA player embargo to be resolved and neither I nor my investors wish to see an outcome that would be to the detriment of Scottish Football.

The SFA player embargo has been resolved. Rangers went to court and Lord Glennie declared it to be ultra vires. With the greatest of respect, what is he on about?

 

“Throughout this process, the Club, the Administrators and most importantly the supporters have taken the view that any sanction against Rangers – due entirely to the misdeeds of individuals no longer at the Club – should be proportionate.

Here we go again. Yes, it is true that the “misdeeds” of the Murray and Whyte regimes were not carried out by directors still at Rangers, although many senior employees remain from both periods. However, as I have pointed out, even though the misdeeds might not have been done by anyone still at Ibrox, RANGERS BENEFITED FROM THEM.

For example, as Sir David Murray’s stewardship accrued debt to the bank and, at least according to HMRC illegitimately reduced the tax bill by around £30-50 million, the money “saved” was not carried out of the back door of the stadium in sacks intended for Sir David’s chateau. The cash went on buying and paying players whom otherwise Rangers would not have been able to afford.

When Craig Whyte decided to stop paying PAYE and NI, in a “negotiating ploy” with HMRC, he did not pout the money into a holding account so that, when the time came, it could be handed over. Neither did Mr Whyte remove the cash in a holdall. Rangers spent it! When Duff & Phelps took over, there was less than £4 million in the bank. As they themselves said that the unpaid tax during Whyte’s tenure was in excess of £13 million, this tells us that Rangers, in the autumn and winter of the season just ended, spent £10 million on club costs which should instead have gone to HMRC. As the wage bill is by far the biggest cost, this meant that Rangers survived to reach administration only by withholding tax legally due, and they failed to take steps to sell players either in August or January, to bring in money and cut the wage bill.

Rangers, as it now is, was not complicit in the “misdeeds”. Rangers however benefited, and continues to benefit, from them.

Mr Green refers to the fans wanting “proportionate” penalties. Most of what I have heard and read from Rangers fans has been to the effect that they should not be penalised at all, because the misdeeds were nothing to do with “Rangers”. This is the nature of partisanship, and it might well be the case that fans of any other team in a similar boat would feel the same. However, I do not recall the Rangers faithful marching to Hampden demanding a “proportionate” penalty.

However, we can all agree with Mr Green. A “proportionate” penalty is what Rangers should receive.

As the Judicial Panel put it, in a finding not challenged by Rangers:-

On any view the matters involved in this case are as serious offences against the ordinary standards of corporate governance as one could imagine. The Tribunal attempted in its exercise of fixing these matters on the scale of offences to identify a more serious offence than those on the complaints, and concluded that only match fixing in its various forms might be a more serious breach. It had no hesitation in concluding that the breaches struck at the heart of good corporate governance and social and financial probity and responsibility. They brought the game into serious disrepute. As such, they required to be regarded as at the top of the scale of seriousness.

In the case of the non-payment of tax (which was possibly by the smallest margin the most serious breach) the massive extent of the failure and the intentional and calculated manner in which it was carried out aggravated the breach even further.”

 

“We and the Administrators did not want to take the matter to a civil court at all. Unfortunately, the route to apply to the Court of Arbitration in Sport was not open to the Club because the SFA’s own articles fail to include a specific provision permitting appeals to CAS and the Judicial Panel Protocol contains a rule which prohibits any form of appeal to CAS or any other body.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the way that the rules are drawn up under the Judicial Panel Protocol gives a right of appeal to CAS in certain limited circumstances, and in certain situations. However, the establishment of the Judicial Panel, and the creation of an Appellate Tribunal, whose decisions were to be final, were intended to avoid the need for external appeals. That is why the argument of Aidan O’Neill, QC, for the SFA that the “appeal” by Rangers should have gone to CAS seemed to me to be very odd. The absence of a provision allowing appeal from the Appellate Tribunal is not a defect in the system. There is no obligation for such a further appeal to be put in place. The Judicial Protocol was drawn up last year, and approved by all SFA members unanimously. It is, in my submission, too early to call it unfit for purpose. The problem here was that the Judicial Panel and Appellate Tribunal differed in their interpretation of powers from what Lord Glennie thought, and in these circumstances, he is the boss!

If Rangers had approached the SFA and asked if the case could be sent to CAS, then the SFA could have agreed. The nature of CAS is that parties must agree to go there, either in terms of rules of an organisation to which the parties are signed up, or in an individual case. Did Rangers ask the SFA about CAS? From the stance taken by the SFA before Lord Glennie, they might have got a favourable answer!

 

“Our position has been endorsed by Lord Glennie in the Court of Session. The Club was prohibited from appealing to CAS by the SFA’s own rules.

That is not what Lord Glennie said. He agreed that there was not an obligatory appeal to CAS. But, as was pointed out, the application by Rangers was not an appeal, but an application to the Court of Session’s supervisory jurisdiction.

 

“The Judicial Review was not an appeal rather it was the Club exercising its right under Scots Law to have the court review whether or not the imposition of the transfer embargo was within the power of the tribunals of the Judicial Panel.

Thank you Charles – just as I said.

 

“All of the appeal points put to the appellate tribunal relating to the harsh and excessive nature of the embargo were dropped as it would not have been appropriate to have taken those to the Court of Session”.

Correct again. The Court of Session is not the place to challenge the fairness of the sanction imposed, unless so unreasonable that no reasonable Tribunal could have decided to impose it. There is nothing wrong, as I said, with the SFA system where an appeal lies to the Appellate Tribunal whose decision is final.

 

“Rangers is wholly committed member of the SFA and SPL and fully respects their structures. Lord Glennie has referred the matter back to the Appellate Tribunal which heard the Club’s appeal and we note a hearing is due to take place in due course. Either party has 21 days to consider an appeal. It is the Club’s view that the matter should in fact have been referred back to the original tribunal which imposed the transfer ban because the appellate tribunal in its written judgement made clear the view they held on the appropriate alternative sanction to be imposed in the event that the transfer ban was successfully challenged.

Here is the crux of the issue. Whether belatedly or not Mr Green has realised what the effects of the “success” before Lord Glennie might be. Of course Mr Keen, for Rangers, sought to persuade Lord Glennie that he should make the final determination himself, by quashing the signing ban, and otherwise leaving the matter at an end. That would have resulted in Rangers only being fined, and the fine, despite being the maximum, being the running costs of Rangers Football Club for ONE DAY!

Lord Glennie addressed specifically the reasons why he was sending the matter back to the Appellate Tribunal.

There were three reasons for not doing so.

1                     Speed – the Appellate Tribunal could reconsider that part of the decision rather than requiring the Judicial Panel to have a full hearing again regarding all the matters at issue, with the right again of a further appeal back to the AT;

2                     As the challenge only concerned the additional sanction, it was appropriate to let the AT decide this, as a quashing of the full decision would send the case back to the JP with all matters, including the question of guilt and the financial penalty again open for argument, even though they had already been accepted and not challenged by Rangers; and

3                     Under Rule 15.6.1.6 the AT can itself remit the case to the JP, and Lord Glennie felt that it was better to leave that decision to the AT itself, rather than impose it himself.

What Mr Green is saying seems to indicate a couple of possibilities. First of all, Rangers might well appeal Lord Glennie’s decision to remit the case to the AT, and not back to the JP. That would cause further delays, but might suit Rangers if the penalty was, as it would be, suspended pending the appeal. If Rangers did appeal, I would expect the SFA to cross-appeal. After all, if the case is going to the Inner House (the Civil Appeal Court) then they might as well have a shot at persuading their Lordships that Lord Carloway was right after all, and Lord Glennie wrong.

Secondly, when the case comes back to the AT, and I have seen suggestions it might be as early as the end of the coming week, Rangers might ask the Tribunal to exercise its powers as mentioned in clause 3 above, to remit the case back to the JP. This would occasion further delay, but would retain for Rangers a further right of appeal back to the AT.

Thirdly, the above makes me think that despite Mr Green’s stated desire for a speedy resolution (albeit to a problem already resolved) Rangers might actually be the party looking to do things which will cause delay, whether by asking for a delay till the days for lodging an appeal have passed, actually lodging an appeal, or else asking the AT to remit the case back to the JP.

I also find it interesting that Mr Green seems to be raising issues which were not put forward by Mr Keen in court. It would have been possible for Mr Keen to ask the court, if remitting the case back to the AT, to order it to go to a differently constituted panel. This was not done, as far as I am aware. Such an application could be made where, for example, Mr Keen was arguing that the AT was biased, or had a closed mind, or had unfairly determined the issues. In the absence of such reasoning, there was no justification for ordering the matter to go to a different Tribunal. Therefore Mr Green’s hints above, that the AT had already made its views clear, and therefore the case should have gone back to the JP seems odd. That is equally so because, in the absence of the arguments I have detailed, it would have been the same JP to which the case was remitted!

 

“We are fully aware that one of the sanctions available to the Appellate Tribunal should the matter be referred back there is the suspension or termination of Rangers Football Club membership of the SFA. That in our view would be a disaster for Scottish football and a major setback to our plans to take Rangers forward after a particularly difficult period in its history.

It is very good of Mr Green to be considering the welfare of Scottish football, as his predecessors do not seem to have done so. However when self-preservation, or protection of his investment, is the reason for fearing for the welfare of Scottish football, then this can be taken with a pinch of salt. There is a reason why there is a system for disciplinary matters independent of the SFA, and of the clubs. It is to allow a fair and independent view to be taken of the rights and wrongs of a situation, and the application of suitable penalties.

Having paraphrased Shakespeare earlier today, I will now quote from John’s Gospel, chapter 18 verse 14 “It was Caiaphas who said the ‘It is better that one man should die for the people’”. Maybe the AT will decide that, as a result of the catalogue of serious matters constituting the offence of “bringing the game into disrepute” there needs to be an expulsion or termination of membership, for the greater good of Scottish football.

Mr Green is entitled to moan about the effect a penalty might have on the club – after all he apparently is committed to paying at least £5.5 million to buy a football club which could have been kicked out of football by the time he writes the cheque to Duff & Phelps! However, the effects upon Rangers are of less importance. As a result of Rangers challenging what was a halfway house sentence, the AT has the choice of leaving only a trivial penalty in place, or choosing one of the penalties deemed excessive, WHEN AN ALTERBNATIVE EXISTRED.

 

“Equally, the alternative sanction of expulsion from the Scottish Cup is itself a very serious punishment which would also have a severe impact on Scottish football as well as on our Club.

Rubbish.

Mr Green would, I suspect, be delighted if the additional penalty was only “ejection” from the Scottish Cup. For one, it would allow him to step away from the CVA proposal, for which he is on the hook for £8.5 million, and move to the newco deal where his committed figure is £5.5 million. As I mentioned earlier, I think that, on a strict reading of the letter of the Rules, rather than the spirit of them, “ejection” can only be from an ongoing competition, and as the Scottish Cup has not started, banning Rangers would amount to a suspension from the Cup, which is not open to the AT as a penalty.

Rangers lost in what for them was the second round of the Scottish Cup last season, and what was, for them, the first round of the League Cup. Did Scottish football collapse as a result? No. Mr Green seems to be suggesting (and I know he is not but a bit of reductio ad absurdum never went amiss) that Rangers require to reach the later stages of the Cup at least, so as to avoid “a severe impact on Scottish football”. If a Rangers plays in the next Scottish Cup, under Mr Green’s ownership, will he protest a defeat in the first Cup match they play, on the basis that this does too much harm to Scottish football? Did the same considerations apply to Celtic losing in the Cup to Clyde and to the various “wee teams” who have defeated them at early stages of the Cup over the years?

This is reminiscent of the argument that there must be four Old Firm derbies in the SPL each year, which leads to people wondering what happens if the teams end up on opposite sides of the split!

 

“We will be considering with our legal team the best way forward after the public holiday.”

The last time there was a holiday weekend, when Bill Miller had been declared “preferred bidder” Duff and Phelps boated about the fact they had worked through it on due diligence issues. If Mr Green has told them to go home for the weekend, enjoy the holiday and not have the meter going round like a whirling dervish, then that is something good. However, I suspect that D&P will be assiduously burning the midnight oil, even on the public holiday, as they work tirelessly for the good of the creditors.

Mr Green’s choices are therefore to appeal against Lord Glennie, to ask for a delay in the AT to await a decision about an appeal, to ask the AT to remit the case back to the JP, to object to Lord Carloway and his colleagues dealing with the appeal or actually to go ahead with the appeal hearing!

There are many variables. We must, as we have often done, wait and see…

 

Posted by Paul McConville

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35 Comments

Filed under Administration, Charles Green, Football, Football Governance, Rangers, SFA

35 responses to “Charles Green’s Statement Tonight Regarding Rangers’ Appeal – Words Fail Me (Not Really)

  1. Araminta Moonbeam QC

    Paul, it would be a sad day for us all if words did fail you! The first thing that occurred to me about this rambling ‘statement’ of Green’s is that he seems to be trying some kind of double bluff regarding the possibility of a Cup suspension. It would be the lightest of all likely penalties now and he knows it. However, the clause-ridden CVA ‘proposal’ allows him a way out of the deal if it comes to pass.

    I am delighted by his clearly stated commitment to the ongoing welfare of the game in Scotland. I assume he’ll be demonstrating further commitment to Scottish football by repaying all the football creditors in full and holding his hands up to 20 years of financial doping by RFC.

    • I think we should welcome the collegiate spirit shown by Mr Green and his concern for the wider well-being of Scottish football, over the base motive of selfishness for his own chosen club.

  2. hoopyfrood

    Gut instinct says Green is preparing the ground for walking away…

  3. redetin

    Paul,

    “Mr Green’s choices”, etc.

    As “leader of a consortium”, is Green in any legal position in relation to Rangers that allows him choices? Surely Duff and Phelps are still the decision makers and responsible for all actions of the company?

  4. Carntyne

    Like all previous bidder Green’s eyes are fixed on the main chance.

    Not Rangers.

    Not their fans.

    Only the interests of Green and those in his consortium who might make a quick buck and move on after doing so.

    They have no real interest in the club otherwise.

  5. Richboy

    Green states that the AT “made clear the view they held on the appropriate alternative sanction to be imposed in the event that the transfer ban was successfully challenged”.

    I can only recall the AT stating they felt expulsion or termination was harsh.Although I am sure they will rethink that.

    I am not aware of their view post successful appeal and have not read anywhere what it might be. Could someone enlighten me please.

  6. ParmaHamster

    “We and the Administrators did not want to take the matter to a civil court at all.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Er, have I been completely mistaken or did I not read in one of the redtops this weekend that “Mr Charles” (oh I love the fact that a major proportion of the RFC support and their cheerleaders cannot bring themselves to use his surname!) was “furious” at Doofus and Filmflam taking the SFA to the CoS?

    Did not Jingle Jackson exclusively reveal his anger at the Two Stooges for going ahead with the appeal without consulting him?

    Could it be that as “Mr Charles” is, as things stand, merely the ‘preferred bidder, then D+P went ahead safe in the knowledge that they called the shots?

    So why the comment about not wanting to go to court?

    Tatty-bye, Mr Green, tatty-bye, as another well-known (acquitted) tax-dodger of yore might say….

  7. Nobody Knows

    Charles Green thinks he is being smart by building up the effect of exclusion from the Scottish Cup, such PR drivel. An exclusion from the SC would not be a proportionate punishment for the charges laid against Rangers (IA) but the “desired” option for CG and administrators.

  8. cobardon

    Speaking as a Dundee United fan I would also point out that Green’s prospective club contributed little to the good of Scottish football through last season’s cup run: Arbroath gained, certainly, in the 4th round but United saw no money from Rangers for their tie. (TV did pay, of course, but we only got that money as it didn’t have to come via Rangers).

    Does it seem fair that, having taken United’s share of the gate from last year’s competition, Rangers ‘sacrifice’ is to merely lose what they have already stolen from another member club? (In assumption their team loses a home tie in Round 4 that is?)

    • Ed Dunne

      This is a great point and I hope it is not overlooked. They have stole from all members of the SPL in one way or another.

  9. Den

    “I nor my investors wish to see an outcome that would be to the detriment of Scottish Football.”

    We are in agreement. It would be to the detriment of Scottish Football to see the SFA backing off punishing a member proportionately. Their credibility would be shot, fans would walk away, FIFA might just cast Scottish Football out into the wilderness.

    “Rangers is wholly committed member of the SFA and SPL and fully respects their structures.”

    Is that why they went through the Civil Courts. Is that why they didn’t sanction their staff who encouraged the naming of the JP leading to threats to personal safety. In the light of the parcel bombs sent to prominent Celtic supporters this was very dangerous behaviour.

    He appears to be lobbying for expulsion from the Scottish Cup, although it would be disaster for Scottish Football. Not a serious sanction £120+ million of Creditors money used – I Scottish Cup run lost.

    The AT will consider their position very casrefully and make a fair decision. I suspect that they may less inclined to go easy on Rangers given the previous bloody nose they got for their troubles.

    It seems to me that for a club with an incredibly bad payment record in everything including in the transfer market, Rangers are getting very agitated at the transfer ban. Under normal circumstances they would do very little business there. Could it be that the syndicate have some money making scheme to trade players through Rangers, just my suspicious nature as I have been following this saga for too long.

    Lastly Duff & Phelps. Like them I am looking forward to the IPA investigation.

  10. Just witnessed two staunch hun supporters arguing about their toxic team’s future in the pub. Everyone stood aside mildly amused at such an infantile level of the argument. Neither seemed to have even the most basic of knowledge about the case. Obviously Daily Record readers…but gave all a laugh at their futile reasoning.

    • AliM

      “Just witnessed two staunch hun supporters arguing about their toxic team’s future in the pub.”

      I think you missed out the word “league” at the end of that sentence 🙂

    • Deansy

      “Obviously Daily Record readers” – Says it all, really, as if the No.1 ‘Rangers Fanzine’ would actually print ANYTHING near the truth about THEIR team !.

    • francobhoy

      A lot of rfc fans r angry at the way rfc have been victimised n want to f**k us all n start again in sfl….if only lol..

  11. stu

    If rangers are still involved in the SPL next season then I will have nothing to do with it.
    The level of cheating and financial skullduggery perpetrated by these heinous reprobates leaves me feeling nauseous.
    Scottish football would benefit greatly if the bigoted bastards would just disappear.

  12. Albert

    “However, I suspect that D&P will be assiduously burning the midnight oil, even on the public holiday, as they work tirelessly for the good of the creditors.”

    He he! Good work this weekend Paul.

  13. Top bombing, Paul.
    There seem to be two different schools of thought about the meaning of the word ‘ejection’ from the Scottish Cup. Like you, I feel that it makes no sense to speak of ejection from a tournament which hasn’t started. Others appear to think that the competition is in some kind of perpetually active state. If that were so, I can’t see why the word ‘ejection’ would be used rather than expulsion or suspension.

  14. Have to say lads just wish some serious punishment was forthcoming, it is truly deserved. Starting to wonder though!

    • Carntyne

      Know how you feel, but I get a sense that the reluctance to impose appropriate sanctions will be swept away by the overwhelming accumulative effect of the results of the present ongoing investigations.

      The dam will be breached and Rangers sent into the raging torrent.

  15. Gobsmacked

    Perhaps we just just thank Mr Green, apologise for any incovenience caused to Rangers FC and it’s supporters. Get bank details to lodge say €10M a year into their bank and determine they have won all internal trophies/leagues for say the next 5 years. Then again the Scottish people and some Football Clubs have been doing so for the last 10+ years. Without Rangers we could see teams like Kilmarnock and Hearts win trophies and Motherwell qualify for the Champions League. This cannot be allowed to happen ever again. Let’s get it across to the kids that Winning at any cost is paramount and only Losers play fair. Else the option is Kick them out of football and maintain some integrity.

  16. Fisiani

    We are in the final two weeks of Rangers existence. Thank goodness. In just 10 days time the CVA will be rejected and Rangers will thus be liquidated. Rangers will be no more. I care not for what will eventuate from Edmiston Rd. It will not be Rangers.
    The final nail in the coffin will come with the dual contracts meeting later this month. Expulsion is the only verdict possible.
    No team can return from ignominious expulsion to the top table. That is not sport. That is a rigged league. That is unacceptable anywhere in football.

  17. Mik

    Misdeeds of individuals no longer at the club, Craig Whyte still owns Rangers(ia).

  18. Family Guy

    I look forward to the season ahead knowing that my kids can accompany me to every home game without me having to worry about navigating around the trolls that support this vile club on the streets surrounding Easter Road. Their presence in the Leith area before and after matches is the reason my kids have never attended a Hibs versus Rangers match despite being season ticket holders. I refuse to subject my offspring to the levels of abuse that can be encountered when mingling with these ‘people’. To them, football is less a sport and more a way of demonstrating their knowledge, or lack of, of 17th century religious political dogma. It is often said that the bigots within their support are a minority but i have witnessed on countless occasions the whole away end at Easter Road rocking to the strains of songs regarding the wholesale murder of vast numbers of citizens who dont share the same religious views as them. Its time to move into the 21st century and we cant do this as a nation until we put this lumbering instituion to sleep.

  19. ian lewis

    Rangers will be suspended.The SFA has already told them they can appeal to the CAS.They will do this.The suspension will be suspended while the appeal is kicked into the long grass for a couple of years.The CAS will support the SFA position.The SFA will then congratulate Rangers for keeping out of trouble and the suspension will be suspended for another couple of years.This will (they think)make the SFA look tough while at the same time allow Rangers to go on their merry way.

    • Can we knock a wee sore point on the head here? The A in CAS stands for arbitration, which has to be consensual. You cannot take something to arbitration unless both parties agree.

  20. “However, I suspect that D&P will be assiduously burning the midnight oil, even on the public holiday, as they work tirelessly for the good of the creditors.”

  21. Paul,

    The judicial review was easily the most misconceived litigation I can recall hearing of, its solke effect being that the SFA will now require to consider sanctions it had previously excluded. While the ‘do or die’ spirit might occasionally prevail on the pitch, you don’t need me to tell you that it doesn’t always win in the courtroom; although I do find the mental image of Rangers’ solicitors and counsel linking up in front of Lord Glennie like Sheringham and Solskjaer in the dying seconds in the Nou Camp a rather amusing one.

  22. Dear Paul after reading your letter a few months ago and disagreeing with the “witch-hunt” approach taken by many ……… how do you see the situation now ?

    When was any other British Football team hounded so much ?

    Have Rangers not paid their dues ? Are they not now showing a massive fan support base ? are they not giving all the other teams in the 3rd div. a big financial boost with giving them record home gates and spending money in the teams local areas ?

    49,000 plus at Ibrox for a third div. game while Motherwell v Celtic 9,000 top and second top SPL teams at that time.

    Mr. Green has been seen to be putting his money where his mouth is and getting Rangers fans to buy shares , this i think is always a good idea for large teams to do.

    Other teams in the SPL are not doing so well….. Hearts…..Aberdeen, Kilmarnock all struggling financially, very low gates , last week SPL teams with crowds of 3 – 4,000 only !

    Rangers and Celtic being put out of a cup early Does have financial implications , lack of crowd revenue, lack of crowds at the final, eg Hearts v Hibs 28,000 at Hampden , if it was Rangers v Celtic it would have been 60,000 sell out.

    SPL teams miss-out playing Rangers x 3 times per season equates to big losses.

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