Michael Grant of the Herald reports today the two of the three members of the SFA Appellate Tribunal which confirmed the sanctions on Rangers before being overturned by the Court of Session have stepped down.
The article, which can be read in full here http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/exclusive-two-withdraw-from-appellate-tribunal-to-rule-on-rangers.18197546 includes the following extracts:-
Lord Carloway and Craig Graham, the chairman of Spartans, will be replaced if or when the SFA’s Appellate Tribunal reconvenes to consider the transfer ban again.
Herald Sport understands that Lord Carloway was unhappy that his verdict was contradicted by another judge and wrote to the SFA to inform them he would no longer be available for any future cases. Graham cannot consider the case again because of the possibility that suspending or expelling the oldco Rangers’ SFA membership (which the newco club seeks to take over) could create a vacant league place for which his own club, Spartans, could seek to apply. Graham removed himself rather than face a conflict of interest although he will remain available to the SFA for future cases.
Only former Partick Thistle chairman Allan Cowan remains of the original panel.
I would be surprised if Lord Carloway has “taken the huff” as suggested. It may be that he has decided that the scope for speculation about fights over the port and Dunsyre Blue cheese in the Court of Session is not helpful. It could be that he did not want more of the hassle which went with his role. It could be, despite my surprise, that he is simply unhappy with the contrary decision of Lord Glennie.
In any event, the fact that he has left the panel entirely for all cases suggests that the issue covered more than simply this case.
The Spartans’ situation is odd too. According to the report Mr Graham stepped down as he faced a conflict of interest. However he must have faced one at the initial hearing, as expulsion or termination of membership would have created a vacancy in the League for which Spartans could have applied.
However the panel, the SFA nor Rangers had any issue with his presence originally.
I think we can rule out the suggestion that either man has stepped down unhappy over an SFA accord with Sevco. That is nothing to do with them, and would be a dereliction of duty on their part.
The change is potentially bad news for Rangers FC if the Appellate Tribunal does eventually sit.
If the original Panel had reconvened, then it would have been bound to a large degree by what it said before. Therefore the decision that expulsion and termination were too severe would be difficult, although not impossible, to go back on.
A new Appellate Tribunal is not so bound, and the fact that there are two new members means that it could reconsider the question of sanctions and decide that, in fact, Lord Carloway’s Tribunal were far too generous to Rangers, and that in fact expulsion or termination were entirely proportionate responses.
Posted by Paul McConville
NB – Written prior to the issue of the SFA statement tonight, as reproduced below. http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=2986&newsID=10229&newsCategoryID=1
I will find some time to draw up some thoughts regarding the news later on.
The Scottish FA can tonight clarify the position surrounding the outstanding Appellate Tribunal related to Rangers FC Oldco.
It has been agreed with Sevco Scotland Ltd that the registration embargo will be accepted as a primary condition of a transfer of membership.
It is necessary to complete the judicial process following the determination by Lord Glennie in the Court of Session that required the Independent Appellate Body to revisit available sanctions relating to Oldco, having been found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.
The Scottish FA indicated to Sevco Scotland Ltd that they had to accept responsibility for any sanctions arising out of this case as a condition of transfer of membership.
Rather than convening the Appellate Tribunal to determine from the sanctions available to it, the company directors of Sevco Scotland Ltd have chosen to accept the 12-month registration embargo. This embargo will begin on 1st September 2012 and end on 31st August 2013.
Sevco Scotland Ltd have also undertaken to accept all other outstanding conditions relating to Oldco’s charges of bringing the game into disrepute. The conditional offer of transfer will now be submitted to the Appellate Tribunal for its consideration. This will form part of the approval process for the transfer of membership which, once approved, will enable Rangers FC to take a considerable step towards participating in Irn Bru Division Three.
In addition to the above, the Scottish FA has also received the necessary financial information requested and this is being considered as part of the application process.
Subject to the completion of all legal documentation, we anticipate transfer of membership next week.
The imposition of conditions relating to transfer of membership was made on the basis that the Scottish FA, as the governing body, has an obligation to protect the integrity of the national game and to ensure that all member clubs operate within the Articles of Association.