In which I consider if Rangers, as suggested by Mr Green, can buy players whilst in administration, and also when Mr Green became CEO of Rangers.
One of my readers, David MacKenzie, posed the following question as a comment earlier.
Can this be right?
“According to Alasdair Lamont of the BBC, Rangers could attempt to sign new players before the club is officially out of administration. Charles Green is aiming to have a Company Voluntary Arrangement approved on Thursday, after which there is a 28-day cooling-off period. In the meantime, Green has confirmed he had told a supporters’ meeting on Wednesday that he has a list of 19 target players drawn up, five of whom are involved at Euro 2012.”
Oh, Mr Green. And how do you think this will look with creditors? A tiny pot for creditors while you eye up no less than 19 players (including five internationals at the European Championships) to bring in at least some of them. I know what I would say, and it is not very polite.
If it is within the rules, even technically, I find it absolutely astonishing. And if he gets away with it, it will truly bring shame on the game in Scotland. He has spoken to the fans, to get them on his side, he has spoken to the SFA, in an attempt to get them on his side; but, has he spoken to the creditors, properly, to explain why he has so much money at his disposal for the club, but a pittance for them, or does he really think that the CVA document is enough? As with the rest involved in this, they are the last thing on his mind. And that’s the point. It seems like they are not being treated as people, they are being treated as numbers to be weighed against other numbers to get things right in a game.
Thank you David. Now to see if we can answer the question.
Can a Club in Administration Register New Players?
As we see from Rule A6.20 below, a Club in administration (being an Insolvency Event as per the Rules) cannot register new players unless with the consent of the SPL Board. There are two cases where the Board can consider such an application by a Club where there has been an Insolvency Event: (a) where the new player is to replace a player whose contract has been terminated by mutual consent, or which has come to its end and (b) where a temporary replacement for an injured goalkeeper is needed.
The former covers the situation where contracts have expired, or players are released by agreement. Other than those two situations, a club in administration cannot register new players. The SPL Board authority to permit such registrations only extends to those two cases.
Does the sale of a player entitle a club under these restrictions to register new players as replacements? As with many things in the SPL and SFA Rules, it is not crystal clear. However, the sale, as opposed to the release of a player, seems to go against the wording of the Rule, as shown below. I previously felt that it could permit replacement of a player who had been sold, but on further analysis I have come to the opposite conclusion. A transfer, whilst having the same effect as a mutually agreed termination of contract is, on a strict definition, different.
According to Rangers website, they have 27 first team squad members and 32 reserve and Under 19 players. On the basis that the administrators, unlike other administrations in Scottish football, have not made large numbers of players redundant, it would seem unusual, without a mass exodus of released first team players, for them to be permitted to be excused the registration ban.
Rangers’ administrators of course attempted to sign Daniel Cousin as one of their first acts upon taking charge at Ibrox in February. This was refused by the SPL Board.
The relevant rule is A6.20 of the SPL Rules.
“Except with the consent of the Board and that only where (i) the term of a Player’s contract of service with his Club has expired and such contract has not been renewed or extended or such a contract has terminated with the mutual consent in writing of the Club and the Player concerned and, in either case, the registration of such Player with the League in terms of Section D of the Rules has been cancelled and a replacement Player is sought to be registered to replace the Player whose contract has so expired or been terminated; or, (ii) where the Player sought to be registered is a temporary replacement for a goalkeeper who is unable by reason of injury or illness to play and that only where written confirmation of such inability shall have been obtained by the Club from a qualified medical practitioner and submitted to the Board and the Board is satisfied that the Club concerned has no other goalkeeper who is registered and able to play, a Club that has taken, suffered or has been subject to an Insolvency Event or Events shall not be entitled or permitted to register any Player with the League and the League shall not register such a Player in terms of Section D of the Rules until such Insolvency Event or events shall no longer continue or subsist.”
When Did Mr Green Become CEO of Rangers?
Also from the BBC website, and repeated elsewhere, I noticed the following comment.
“From my point of view as CEO, we’ve sat with Ally and arranged a budget with him and should we be allowed to sign players, he will be able to do so.”
Now the CVA document, as I commented on before, indicated that Mr Green would be taking a role in the day-to-day management of Rangers from 6th June, even though the CVA vote is not until 14th June.
The Rangers website does not list Mr Green as CEO. In fact, it shows the two Board members as Mr Whyte and Mr King.
It is only for a few days, but if Mr Green had formally been appointed, then one thinks that Duff & Phelps would have mentioned it!