Yesterday Mr Green made clear his stance on the players who exercised their legal rights not to go to work for Sevco 5088 Ltd, or Sevco Scotland Ltd or RFC 2012 Ltd…
His statement, from rangers.co.uk is below, with commentary in bold.
The article was written by Lindsay Herron on the official “Rangers” website and therefore the narrative part of the story too can be taken as the official “Rangers” stance.
The guts have been ripped out of Ally McCoist’s squad by 11 players – headed by Steven Naismith, Steve Davis, Steven Whittaker and Allan McGregor – who insist they are not obliged to join the new company under TUPE. Indeed Whittaker has been signed by Norwich City while Kyle Lafferty is joining Sion in Switzerland. The Rangers Chief Executive, however, is insistent that Rangers are due compensation for all of the players who have gone.
“The guts have been ripped out of the squad”? Not much of a vote of confidence in the various players, including internationalists, who remain, is it? And bearing in mind that the most likely place for the players to be plying their trade for Sevco next season is SFL3, are all those players really needed? I also am rather upset by the thought of Ally McCoist’s guts…
Or is it purely and simply that, having spent £5.5 million to buy all “the assets and business of Rangers”, which includes the sum of around £4.5 million for the fixed assets, Mr Green is upset that his immediate massive profit has walked away for nothing?
If the 11 players commanded transfer fees of £1 million each on average, then this would have created an immediate profit for Mr Green’s consortium of around £10 million, even before any money received from the sale of Mr Jelavic to Everton. Duff & Phelps have still not confirmed if those rights were sold to Sevco too.
If I had lost an immediate £10 million profit on a £5.5 million investment, and still retained £4.5 million of fixed assets, I might be annoyed too.
He told RangersTV: “Our position is unchanged. We have notified all clubs in the UK that we believe these players are Rangers players.
I believe that Albion Rovers will win the Champions League by 2020. I believe that potted hough is a delicious and much under-rated food, loved by children, especially when what it is made of is explained to them. I believe that Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson make up the best commentary team on British TV. But my belief makes none of those things true.
(One of them is not actually believed by me…)
Maybe Mr Green did not notice that his players were looking further afield. Why not notify the Swiss teams, for example, as Mr Lafferty has already gone there?
The whole issue is not whether the players are “Rangers” players. For employment law purposes all that matters is the legal entity which is the employer. The players were employed by Rangers Football Club PLC (in administration). Mr Green bought the assets and business of Rangers via Sevco 5088 Ltd or Sevco Scotland Ltd. If he bought them through the former, there seems to have been a further transfer of the assets from Sevco 5088 Ltd to Sevco Scotland Ltd. The players have the right to object to the first transfer and potentially the second one. As I asked before, was the SPFA told that Sevco Scotland Ltd was to be the employer? Were the players told that? The law is clear, in my opinion; an employee needs to know for whom he is to work before he can be deemed to have consented to the transfer of his employment.
“Seven or 10 days after the transfer occurred they took the opportunity to leave the club so that they could make material gains. That’s not morally right and it’s not legally right and we will do everything in our power to defend Rangers’ position in these matters.
How dare the players seek material gain! After all Mr Green and his consortium have invested in football purely as a philanthropic measure, with no desire for a return, haven’t they? After the Prime Minister discussed the moral iniquity of legal tax reduction arrangements by a comedian, we now have the CEO of what purports to be “Rangers” criticising people for actions not being “morally right”. I suspect that there are many eloquent commenters here who can suggest areas where the club Mr Green claims to own have fallen short on the moral front. I will leave that to them.
Whilst there might be arguments about the morality, there can be little argument about the legality.
A simple question. How many court actions have been raised by Sevco Scotland Ltd against the 11 players alleging that they are in breach of contract and suing the players and the clubs signing them for damages and for interdict? I may be wrong, but is the answer not zero?
“I understand very clearly the situation then when a club applies for an international transfer certificate that the SFA have little choice but to release that but that doesn’t remove the case for compensation and we will pursue that.
At least Mr Green accepts that the SFA would be in breach of the law, both of the land and of football, as per Bosman, if it refused to release players’ registrations.
“We spoke to the SFA last week and put them on notice that we will be looking for them to set up a panel to review these cases individuals. It is our mind each case is a clear breach of contract.
Wait a minute. If, as Mr Green just said that the SFA has no choice but to release players’ registrations, why do they need to set up a panel to review the cases? How is it a breach of contract, and with whom?
As has been commented repeatedly the European Directive which is the basis for the TUPE Regulations in the UK is designed to protect the rights of employees, not employers. So far every single team which has signed a former Rangers player will have considered the legal position. Every one has proceeded. That does not necessarily mean that they are all right, but it suggests that Mr Green’s opinion is very much in the minority, and this only because… it has no foundation at all in law!
“These players had already arranged through Duff and Phelps huge reductions in their actual values against the market values and for them to exploit what they see as a loophole and to try to deprive this club of the cash is morally wrong.
These players had already agreed to give up significant portions of their salaries for three months, and had not even been able to agree for these to be deferred. The 11 [layers in question played for Rangers for three months when they were being paid a fraction of the sums they were entitled to. Did Mr Green suggest that his consortium would, as a gesture of goodwill, make up this noble gesture by the players? Of course not.
Maybe, as Mr Green is threatening court actions, he should sue Rangers Football Club PLC and its administrators for their negligence in how the players’ contracts were revised, thus creating this “loophole”. In any event the “loophole” is the law! There is no “loophole”.
And again we see the real motive. Mr Green did not want these players to play for his team. He wanted them to be sold. Why should the players show any loyalty to a new employer whose business plan involved almost immediately transferring the players? Why should the players do this when they could sign elsewhere for more money than if transferred?
“There are 11 individuals and each one has different representation. We have spoken to some of the clubs involved and we have exchanged letters but we will not just walk away and let this fall.”
No walking away? Maybe the new crest for Sevco? What did the clubs say? I assume they politely told Sevco where to go? Where are the court actions?
“Myself and the rest of the board met with the senior players and the younger players at Murray Park today when the manager was also there. We did a Q & A period and once again the manager expressed his disappointment that some of the senior players have left.
Maybe if Mr Green and his Board had done so before the purchase, or on the day of the purchase, or even immediately upon the purchase talking place, the players would still be there? Or else they would have left earlier?
It looks to me, and this is only surmise, that either Mr Green had received favourable legal advice that the players could not leave (which I doubt) or that he was relying on them not “walking away”. Either way he was wrong.
As I have said before, any player’s agent who did not tell their client about the rights to object to a TUPE transfer would be negligent and open themselves up, potentially, to a claim form their client. Why therefore have players stayed? It might be for love of the club, or more prosaically that they saw little or no chance of an improved contract elsewhere.
At the end of the day Mr Green is not upset because the players will not be about to play for “Rangers”. Instead I think his annoyance is because he has seen some of what he thought were his assets disappearing for nothing. If he did have legal advice backing up his position, he might be suing his own lawyers!
What did he intend to do with the sale proceeds? Was this part of the £20 million supposedly available for Sevco’s use? If so, when combined with the season ticket debacle, his company’s finances might already be holed before the waterline, even before a single ball has been kicked in anger…
Posted by Paul McConville