Rangers FC are Ineligible to Play in the Scottish Cup, But SFA Has Included Them Anyway

In which I meander round the Rules of the Scottish Cup and look at some questions.

Why is Rangers FC ineligible for the Cup? Despite that the SFA have them included – pre-judging issues or an oversight?

Does the competition start when the draw is made or when the first match is played? This matters.

What round would an SFL3 Rangers enter the Cup in? It is not clear.

Can the Appellate Tribunal eject Rangers from this year’s Cup before the Preliminary Round takes place, or must it wait till after 4th August to have that option available?

Some answers can be found below.


When the SFA disciplinary processes were ongoing earlier this year, and when Lord Glennie overturned the registration embargo, there was discussion about the possible alternative penalties which could be imposed.

On named in the appropriate section of the Judicial Panel Protocol was ejection from the Scottish Cup.

At that stage, back in May, I suggested that ejection implied an ongoing competition, and exclusion from the Scottish Cup, which was mentioned as a penalty for other offences, was the term dealing with being barred form entering the competition. Exclusion was not a penalty competent for bringing the game into disrepute.

Little did I think that the sanction to be imposed would still not be determined in mid July!

We are nearing the stage where, if the SFA approves the transfer of SFA membership to Sevco Scotland Ltd, ejection from the Scottish Cup might become competent.

I therefore had a look at the rules, which form part of the SFA Handbook.

The first thing is that the most important date seems to be when the competition begins. Is that when the draw is made, or when the first ball is kicked?

Rule 5 on page 124 of the handbook states that the competition shall commence on a date to be determined by the SFA Board. That helps!

The draw for the preliminary round has already been held, on 3rd July, and on 4th August the play in the competition starts with matches between Fort William and Preston Athletic and Keith and St Cuthbert Wanderers.

Rule 6 lists the eligibility criteria. This right now provokes a problem for Rangers FC, owned by Sevco Scotland Ltd. Rule 6 states that “entry to the competition is available to all clubs in full or associate membership of the Association”.

At this point Rangers FC do not have membership of the SFA. That is why they are trying to get the membership transferred.

Rangers Football Club PLC, which holds the membership at present is also not eligible to play in the competition, for the simple reason that it no longer owns or operates a football club!

If the Cup is deemed to commence at the draw, which would be logical, then Rangers FC will not be in it, as stated above. However, by my calculations, they are assumed by the SFA to be in the Cup.

There are 4 teams in the preliminary round. Two qualify for Round one where they are joined by 34 other teams.

In Round two 18 teams have made it through from Round One. At that stage ten teams from SFL3 together with the winners of the East of Scotland League and the South of Scotland League, and the winners and runners-up in the Highland League are added to the draw.

The 32 teams playing in Round two are reduced to 16 for Round three, where the SFL2 clubs, and six SFL1 teams enter.

These 32 are reduced to 16 for Round 4 where the remaining four SFL1 teams and the 12 SPL teams compete.

That seems to me to assume therefore that Rangers FC is in the competition, even though it is ineligible as shown above.

I am sure an organisation such as the SFA would not have made a mistake and not considered the issue of whether or not Rangers would be members of the SFA. Equally it would be wrong, I am sure, to suggest that the issue has been pre-judged and that the SFA knows that they will be members.

We must therefore work on the basis that the SFA intends to decide the membership issue before the competition starts on August 4th, and by implication that is the commencement date for the competition. However, as a club can, in my opinion, only be ejected from a competition where it has started, the Appellate Tribunal would be unable to consider ejection from the Scottish Cup as a penalty until (a) after 4th August and (b) the SFA has decided on the membership transfer.

That means that the SFA must deal with the issue of the membership transfer first. One effect of this is that the “easy way out” for the SFA of having the Appellate Tribunal suspend Rangers FC for a year, for example, which would allow league restructuring and Rangers FC to re-emerge in a higher division cannot work.

Indeed it might be argued that, until the membership is transferred, as long as Rangers FC maintains it is a continuation of the old club, there is no point in the Appellate Tribunal sitting, as the club cannot be suspended form a membership it does not have, nor be excluded from such a membership!

Therefore, by that logical (to me anyway) process, the SFA must decide on the membership transfer before the Appellate Tribunal convenes again. This must happen too before 4th August, if that is deemed the Commencement date of the Scottish Cup. The draw has been made on the assumption that Rangers FC will be taking part.

If the Appellate Tribunal is to have ejection from the competition available as a sanction, it must sit after the 4th August. Of course, at that stage any ejection from the Cup, or suspension or termination of membership will affect the relevant competition, leaving it a team short.

There is another complication too, in the event that Rangers FC play in the Scottish Cup, and are treated as the same Rangers FC as last season, as the owners, management and fans want.

At what stage would Rangers FC enter the competition?

Working on the assumption that Rangers FC play in SFL3 in the coming season, the rules state that, as a current SFL3 club, they are exempt from playing in Round One, and therefore would enter in Round Two.

The exemption for Round Two applies to the current members of the SPL and of SFL1 and SFL2. Therefore Rangers FC, of SFL3, enter the Cup in Round Two.

But here is the problem. The Rules state that the clubs which, in the previous season played in the SPL and finished in the top 4 of SFL1 are exempt from Round Three.

Rangers FC can claim that, as a team which played in the SPL last season, they are exempt until Round Four!

Rule 47 gives the SFA Board the power to amend, suspend or revise the rules as it deems appropriate to facilitate the smooth running of the competition. I suspect that Mr Regan might be looking at Rule 47 sooner rather than later!


Posted by Paul McConville


Filed under Football, Rangers, SFA

53 responses to “Rangers FC are Ineligible to Play in the Scottish Cup, But SFA Has Included Them Anyway

  1. Koroviev

    Paul, G Ioaniddis disagrees with your idea that the membership transfer allows punishments to fall on the club owned by Sevco. That there is a difference between history and legacy. Your thoughts on this?

    • mick

      we all know sevco are a new company by law they cant use rangers name for a year company house rules on liquidation ,sevco have no history ,people can say what they want but the whole of scotland knows its a new team but they had a team before that died ,even your most hardened fan admits this ,if they want to use history are they going to pay creditors take the punishment for ebts,no why because its a new company with no history and no players and no licence .

      • Niall Walker.

        There is difference between a company name and a trading name, tomy knowledge it is not illegal to trade under the name ” Rangers ” even though your company name is Sevco Ltd.

    • mick

      turnbull hutton hit it on the button when he said “they are making it up as they go along””its old co new co sevco tesco”how can they field a team weres there liability insurance ????what is the name on it ????sevco or rangers?????

    • Craig Burley

      Koroviev, either the club owned by Sevco, recently approved for associate member status, is a new club or it is not. It might also be a new club now but eager to take on the mantle of an old club. If the club wishes to adopt the mantle of the old club, and the old club approved, it accepts and should be entitled to the history of that old club. However, this applies not only to nice things like trophies but also to not-so-nice things like acts constituting improper conduct and bringing the game into disrepute. These are rules *for clubs*, which are the only entities the SFA recognizes.

      If they are Rangers, let them be Rangers and own up to *all* of the history of Rangers. If they are not Rangers, let them be Rangers 2012 or even Rangers 1872, and let the old club die the ignominous death it always deserved.

      Common sense allows for no third course.

    • Marching on Together

      G Ioaniddis is, with respect, wrong. If the SFA decide to make it a condition of transferring membership that newco accepts any sanctions imposed on oldco, then it is up to newco to accept or decline that offer. If they decline it, then end of newco playing football in Scotland. if they accept it, then they have agreed a contract with the SFA and they will be barred from challenging that, except for any appeal specifically allowed within the contract signed. This is what the Football League in England have done on a number of occasions (Leeds Utd, Rotherham Utd, Portsmouth), and it has been upheld by a High Court judge.

      Clearly the SFA know this as this appears to be what they are pursuing.

  2. iamtheperson

    That’s not very logical at all. It’s a fairly bizarre claim even, to say the cup starts when the draw is made.

    Did Euro 2012 commence when the groups were drawn? No.

    Did my flight commence when I bought the ticket? No.

    Did the party commence when I sent you an invitation? No.

    Did I commence working, now I know what next week’s schedule will be? No, that will commence on Monday.

    The cup starts at kick off at the first match. Like all things commence when they do, not when they are announced or scheduled.

    • Ernesider

      Your flight party and work examples are inappropriate comparisons.
      What is normal is that when the draw is made for a competition, such as Euro 2012, the participants are known and entry closed.
      Then again there has been very little normal in matters involving Rangers for quite a while.

      • iamtheperson

        Perhaps (why?). They just illustrate the fact that planning an event does not ‘commence’ it in any logical sense; A competition begins with the first match, not by announcing the fixtures.

        Anyway, it would seem obvious that a draw cannot be made with unknown participants, regardless of whether the draw commences the competition or not. But then, so many things have seemed obvious, but turned out rather differently.

      • Marching on Together

        Except for the 1992 Euros, when Yugoslavia were kicked out to be replaced by Denmark, with around a week’s notice, long after the draw was made.

  3. I would go with iamtheperson – the competition starts when the first whistle blows. Everything before that was planning not competition.

    But the question of whether Sevco qualifies is a good one. It is not, as you state Paul, a member of the SFA. If it were to be, then the question of what round it starts in takes us back to the “squaring the circle” position. They want to be the continuation of Rangers when it suits them but a new club when it doesn’t. And that false duality is bound to cause contradictions when rules are interpreted.

  4. josephmcgrath112001809

    A good friend of mine is organising a bus to take football fans to Annan to see them beat Rangers/Secvo – whatever. He recons the programme will be worth a fortune in the near future.

    • ecojon

      Not so sure if the programme idea will fly as a money-maker as Annan will probably prints tens of thousands extra and flog them on Ebay – The rangers support abroad will lap them up. I can see Rangers bringing real wealth to SFL3 if the wee ‘diddy’ clubs get their entrepreneurial act in gear and I have no doubt that they will. They’ll probably be buying in the ‘blue’ pies right now 🙂

    • Ernesider

      Hi Joe
      Might lower the value if they have to play them again next year and the year after.

    • mick

      if sevco co bust after few matches due to high over heads and they only do a couple of games then theres value lol old co new co sevco tesco

  5. Martyman

    “Rangers FC can claim that, as a team which played in the SPL last season, they are exempt until Round Four!”

    Now that they are a ‘Newco’ that has started again at the bottom tier of Scottish football, can they really claim that THEY played in the SPL last season? Technically, they never played anywhre last season.

    • mick

      technically your right but you know the handshake is slithering in the back ground and its not giving a toss what you or me think its a con to keep the country divided and to keep scotland fulled with hate ,but its not going to work scotland hates sevco and what they stand for ,scotland has had enogh of the cheating wit school did you go to types they are relics of scotlands past ,

      • mick

        the whole of scotland is united agianst sevco and this has been proven week in week out throw out the year ,its games a boogie scotland wants change were carefree and dont want a establishment club anymore it has no place in our mordern cosmopolitian country the should just wake up and smell the napam no 1 likes you and scotland doesent care ,from north to south east to west they voted no to sevco

  6. ecojon

    HELP! I’ve been looking at the D&P interim report again and wonder if anyone with an accountancy background can look at what I am pondering and explain whether I’ve crossed my wires as accountancy, I readily admit, is not my strong point.

    Click to access rangers-fc-plc-interim-report-by-duff-phelps-10-july.pdf

    From the report:

    7.5 As at the Appointment Date, the Company was owed £3.8m from other football clubs in respect of deferred transfer fees which will fall due over a period of time up to 31 May 2014. Of these as detailed in Section 4 above £1,021,712 has been received.’

    (The amount received is the 2nd Jelavic payment and Blackpool paying for loan players. So the balance still to be paid to is £2,778,288. Do the creditors get this future payable balance or is it just added to Rangers assets in administration. In any case where is it actually meant to be accounted for as I can’t see it specifically identified in the Appendixes to the Report.)

    (The reason this puzzles me is the big deal the journos made about Rangers Player Contracts & Registrations only being valued by D&P at £2,749,990 when £20 million might seem more appropriate especially if D&P were in Harmony with sevco re contract ownership trumping Tupe Regs – see Asset Realisation Tables at Appendix 2 of the report.)

    (But now I am beginning to wonder whether the £2,749,990 actually relates to the money still owed to Rangers for players they transferred out to other clubs. The Asset Realisation Table discloses Debtors owing £1,505,029 but that doesn’t relate in any way to the £2,749,990.)

    (The Asset Realisation Table also shows £5,300,000 in Taylor Wessing Client Account and mentions the £200,010 exclusivity fee separately and that suspiciously adds up to £5.5 million which is the price paid by sevco.)

    This thing just keeps getting curioser and curioser. And what about the money that is sitting in another Taylor Wessing Client Account amounting to £3.6 million which was seized from the the client account of Collyer Bristow who advised Rangers owner Craig Whyte on his purchase of the Scottish football club in May 2011. When the London courts eventually decide this one who gets the money? Sevco or the creditors?

    • mick

      ecojon that was a fanastic contribution thats the 1rst creditors report ave read is this the doc. the bdo will srutinise lol

  7. swirlz69

    A simple question for the more knowledgeable than I. If Rangers FC* are not running or operating as a football club, (I would argue the same of Sevco Rangers) then how can Sevco or anyone else apply to transfer their membership? I refer to rule 15.3 of the SFA handbook.

    “Registered membership shall be terminated automatically on the registered member’s membership of or participation in an Affiliated Association or an Affiliated National Association or any other recognised football body”

    As you need a registered stadium and players to participate then Old Rangers’ membership should have defered at the point of the asset sale from Old Rangers to Sevco Rangers.

  8. swirlz69

    As an aside. What round are Dunfermline due to start in?

    • mick

      just write to the dunfermline chairman and tell him to master the handshake after that produce a brown envolope and he,ll get in the final lol

  9. Paul

    You seem to be under the impression the SFA actually follow the rules. They only seem to adhere to them when it suits and forwards their own interests.

    They use the hardback copy of the rules and articles to prop up a shooglie leg on the board room table, only to be removed for throwing purposes when Lennon and Romanov are visiting.

  10. ecojon

    Football Clubs seldom make the kind of profits that attract major investors looking for a good financial return on their investment. Clubs are much more likely to attract individuals with very deep pockets who can afford to throw away millions in pursuit of their ‘fix’ whether it be an ego/power trip; a ladder to respectability – usually coupled with dodgy origins for their wealth; or even a European Cup win dream. They remind me in many ways of the proprietors of major newspapers.

    Then we have those who have no actual interest in a club under pressure but look at it quite dispassionately just as a business opportunity and often they don’t invest a penny of their own money. They want to know how much can they make by breaking it up, selling asset parcels and repackaging what’s left for sale or as an investment opportunity for others who are only interested in the return they can achieve on the money they invest in the shortest time possible. It matters not in many cases whether the playing of football disappears in the process.

    We obviously have other wealthy people who have supported a club from childhood and later become wealthy to a degree – but millionaires rather than billionaires – who can help their club in hard financial times to some extent.

    I leave it for the reader to decide if any of these scenarios fit the situation at Rangers and in view of the financial situation which seems to be lowering over Scottish Football in general are there any lessons we can learn other than abusing rival fans?

    And I think that fans and enlightened club management are the key not merely to ‘save’ the Scottish Game but to expand it. Many youngsters have lost their way and local authorities have no money to get them back on track. But I reckon football clubs could become the hub of community action to involve youngsters in all sorts of sports, athletics, cycling whatever. It means breaking free of the tunnel-vision of just raising money through football and particularly TV rights. The clubs also tend to have facilities and a dedicated core of supporters who could make this work.

    There are all sorts of ways of tapping into money out there as soon as you go down the ‘social responsibility’ route and also valued charity status for these activities. What we need are courageous visionaries leading the administration of Scottish Football and not the absolute w*nkers we have at present.

    I’m not saying it would be easy and I would suggest that the SFL clubs would be the best starting point for a whole variety of reasons that I don’t think I need rehearse. I would say that in 10 years we would have a thriving football scene in Scotland and a whole generation of fit, healthy, confident and balanced youngsters – not just playing football but a multitude of sports.

    I have ideas about how this could be grown-into the SPL as it is presently named but I see the foundations being laid in the lower leagues who will benefit financially by increasing their support and by selling-on young players.

    And to return to those wealthy people I mentioned earlier who love theri clubs – their money will be handy to keep the process going and they don’t need to risk millions of their hard-earned cash. Indeed anything they contribute is probably tax-deductible – all they need to do is hire the financial advisors of the billionaires to explain how to do it 🙂

    I don’t think this is a pipe dream – it is achievable given effort, drive and good people. And the return of the investment in our youngsters will be priceless.

  11. mick

    its all a masonic orange scam from the top to the bottom it has no place in a modern scotland that is trying to break free of narrow mindedness and take its place amoungst the worlds cosmopolitian states ,its sad they are being so blatant about it ,and they are shifting the goal posts to suit sevco no matter what the public think its revolting to watch

  12. Gobsmacked

    “The SFA will adhere to the rules and act logically”, is that what is called an oxymoron ? Don’t know about oxys but we certainly have more than our fair share of morons controlling our football. Newco did not finish 2nd in the Premier League, as that team has never played a single league game. The SFA must be hoping this is a Dallas dream and Rangers will come walking out of the showers !!

    • Ernesider

      Are you sure an oxymoron doesn’t mean an idiot who was educated at Oxford. George Osborne who studied history at the above and who had a job folding towels in Selfridges before becoming an MP and the guardian of the nation’s finances, comes to mind.

  13. mick

    scotland united agianst cheats

  14. mick

    the diddy united has more power than the daft cheats of the west coast and that was proven this week flick throw pie and bovril and you will see this they are the laughing stock of the country lol

  15. mick

    the main reason the goal post shifters have to resign is they are putting off potential inward investors would you invest here with this sort of backdrop ???

  16. mick

    imagine what would have happened if it was any other team they would be out on there back sides long ago why not sevco ,sevco are not in the league because of merit they are there because of handshakes they should be banned from sport all together

  17. ADM

    Incidentally, one of the implications of the SFL’s decision yesterday – perhaps overlooked in the rush – is that the SFL clubs do regard Sevco as, at least to some degree, the continuation of “Rangers”. This is the only possible justification for admitting them to Associate Membership ahead of Spartans, Cove Rangers and a whole host of other clubs around Scotland (who may have never even considered applying) who at least meet the basic criteria (3 years of audited accounts, etc.).

  18. mick

    adm ,green has a sell for house or retial senario with the land ,that is still very viable if the investors want there money back its on the cards ,the glossy book gave to miller was a pack of lies thats why he pulled out it had a 30 mil black hole the sfa might shift the goal posts and creat a cloned verstion of rangers but if there is no return then its all for nothing and they will be gone
    div3 teams will beat them a think and thats when it will sink home to them .there making it up as they go along to suit the sevco ,no accounts,no team,no real name yet ,no over dratht the list is endless ,when it all caves in they will be left looking like clowns ,the currenbuns life is similiar to the trueman show ,its all fake and lies and deciet its con after con ,scotlands new shame now that rangers are died is the sfa lol

  19. mick

    my quote of the week “scotlands new shame is the sfa now rangers are dead “

  20. Jedi

    aside issue: When will the company called SEVCO 2012 who want to play football, change their name or have they actually stated that SEVCO 2012 is their Football name? Can they legally rename themselves to something similar to an old now disbanded football side from Glasgow?

    • mick

      jedi good point ,under company house rules if the company goes bust you have to wait a year before reapllying for same name and even then its not guarenteed its a farce the whole lot of it ,people have been buy the name rangers for 3year and could offer to sell the name to sevco check company house records and you will see this it cost under2000 to set up and register a company name you get a number check if the name is there what charlie wants if not register it and sell to him for havle a mil .thats show business .they will have to apply in a year from liquidation date ,

  21. mick

    if they field a team with the same name its agianst company house rules as sevco has a new company house number and the 1 rangers had is soon to be liquidated so its a other cheat the name rangers cant be used for 1 year even then its not gurenteed as the people who bought the name rangers can object to it being to close to theres lol

  22. mick

    am an itermediate but after reading all the long posts on here a think am well and truely educated now in a business concept that is ,am never buying a paper agian you learn more online its making my iq bigger and is giving more confidence in a acedemic business enviroment yeha

  23. Ernesider

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

  24. mick

    ernside thats a great sonnet so fitting to this subject .

  25. mick

    the theme being the evenual demise of all leaders

  26. Niall Walker.

    I assume if Sevco is a membership transfer into the SFA, then it must be responsible for the historical actions of the original member..
    I presume the SFA will strip Rangers of all titles won under the EBT regime, and the historical records will be adjusted accordingly.
    The transfer embargo will be lifted and I do not believe the SFA intends to remove the newco from the Scottish Cup.

    • jedi

      Jeez Niall, ur soo negative

    • mick

      rangers died its sevco you cant punish sevco ,the ebts will mean old co being striped of trophys during the financial doping years thats the law sevco have no right to call them self rangers for a year under company house liquidation rules coperate law is non negosible sevco have no team no licence are 5 weeks old they have no accounts its all a scam to safe sky deal and for the handshake crew to feel superior and part of europe lol

    • mick

      rangers are dead you cant punish sevco they havent won anything yet and sevco need certian licences and insurance to get in to scottish cup which they have not got

  27. Craig Burley

    Personally, despite my extreme dislike for the Old Jiggly, I would not be upset if the transfer embargo were lifted given the reality of Sevco/Rangers trying to play in SFL3 and the reality of want-away players (presumably almost all of them) needing to get clearance.

    If Sevco/Rangers can agree not to oppose international clearances once they are admitted back to the SFA, and agree to ask the Court of Session (?) to lift its order from their appeal (which will be key anyway to Rangers ever getting back into Europe – FIFA/UEFA will be furious with the situation) those players can be treated fairly by getting their clearance and I’ll happily ignore the SFA’s current shameful role in denying clearance when no member contests the transfer.

    The transfer embargo could then be lifted; the fines could be paid; Sevco/Rangers could be allowed to recruit new players more in keeping with their footballing and economic reality and we could get on with (1) playing a 2012/13 season and (2) investigations into all the many outstanding matters.

    Eventually, of course (like everyone) I think titles and cups should be vacated as Oldco/Rangers were breaking SFA and SPL rules, but that can await a proper investigation. An extraordinary number of key SFA, UEFA and FIFA rules have been not just broken but pissed on during this. The SFA needs to be VERY careful it doesn’t end up getting the national team suspended by FIFA. Matters are already inching (whisper it, softly) in that direction.

    • mick

      mister burley sevco are not in europe so the last thing that the sfa will worry about is a ban we all no they like england ,old co newco sevco tesco
      scotland wants them out and has punished the cheats ,hampden suits are fumming and it wouldent surprise me if they shift the goal posts next week agian they are out of touch with reality or in more layman terms they have there head buired in the sand that mush that they are shxxing sandcastles ,its oziymandias time for the handshake mafia aka sfa ,its games a boogie ,scotlands proving its self to be universial and cosmapolitian these bent instituions have no place in our society well done to all the people who stood up to the bully who is now the bullied its karma for trying to be top dog scotlands passive and carefree but when it comes to sport it rolls its sleeves up lol

  28. Pingback: Analysis of Yesterday’s SFA Statement re Rangers FC | Random Thoughts Re Scots Law by Paul McConville

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