Here is one for the conspiracy theorists – have a look at the SPL website. As it stands, there is no mention of Dundee and Club 12 is still listed in the league table and fixture list.
This is despite the press release from the SPL on 16th July following its AGM where it was stated:-
“It was agreed that Dundee FC would be invited to fill the space vacated by Rangers FC in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.”
Maybe someone should check that the invitation turned up at Dens Park! We all know what it’s like to ask someone to a gathering or party, but they fail to arrive as the postal system lost the invitation.
How embarrassing for all concerned if Kilmarnock run out at Rugby Park on 4th August, and Dundee don’t show up, as their invite got lost.
Maybe Neil Doncaster could ring Dundee FC to tell them the good news.
Now pop over to the SFL website.
Under Division 3, you might notice that only nine teams are listed. The missing one is The Rangers FC. That team is owned by a member of the SFL and has been invited to play in SFL3 this season. Why is it not on the website, as it is entitled to be until an SFA decision to refuse to transfer membership to Sevco Scotland Ltd.
Under the listing of clubs for the Ramsdens Cup, guess what. No mention of The Rangers FC, even though it is in the draw and due to play on Sunday.
The fixture list for the Ramsdens Cup has the following entry for matches to be played on Sunday:-
“Sunday 29th July 2012
First Round North-East
15:05 Brechin City v Glebe Park“
However, Rangers is listed on the SFL website in the roster of clubs in the League Cup.
The entry for Rangers on the SFL site shows that the team is only playing in one competition this season – the League Cup.
Under Division 1, there is no mention of Dundee, but their place has been taken by Airdrie.
I mentioned conspiracies above. I doubt that this is “evidence” of any last minute plans to place The Rangers FC into the SPL, for example. Instead I suspect it is a very good demonstration of the complete and utter confusion in which Scottish football has been placed as a result of the Rangers mess. Not all of the blame for that rests on Rangers, by the way, although most does. However, the football authorities have managed to make a complete dog’s breakfast of dealing with this situation.
The negotiations continue today at Hampden, as long as the correct people have been invited back today (a reference to the North Korea/South Korea error there yesterday).
If we are to believe Mr Green, and at no time has he given anyone reason not to do so, it would appear that the only remaining stumbling block is the issue of the so-called “dual contract” investigation.
“At its meeting earlier today, the SPL Board considered a number of issues relating to Rangers FC.
The SPL Board heard a report from its solicitors following the investigation into payments to, or for the benefit of, players allegedly made by Rangers FC outside of contract.
The delay in concluding the investigation was caused by an initial lack of co-operation from Rangers FC.
The investigation has now been completed and, in the view of the SPL, there is a prima facie case to answer in respect of its Rules.
Disciplinary charges will be brought when the future status of Rangers FC is clarified and prior to the start of season 2012/13.”
So the relevant factors, as at the middle of June were as follows:-
1 The matter was investigated by lack of co-operation from Rangers FC delayed it.
2 The investigation has concluded.
3 There is a prima facie case to answer.
4 Disciplinary charges will be brought prior to the start of the season, and when the future status of Rangers FC is clarified.
The “status” of Rangers FC has been clarified to the extent that it and its owners are no longer members of the SPL. They are Associate Members of the SFL, with an invitation to play in SFL3.
The football authorities seem to be treating The Rangers FC as a continuation of oldco Rangers, and Sevco Scotland Ltd wish The Rangers FC similarly to be treated as a continuation of oldco Rangers.
The fans of The Rangers FC are in no doubt that the team they support continues.
Perhaps I am asking a naïve question…what are they “negotiating” about?
Some have argued that action effectively against oldco Rangers by removing past titles would be a useless penalty, should the facts justify it. The response would be that the vehemence with which such an idea is opposed clearly shows that the fans, and Mr McCoist, feel that would be a serious punishment.
Fanciful ideas have been floated that stripping of titles would lead to compensation claims by other clubs, deprived of titles or prize money, or even by fans and shareholders of other clubs.
As far as any case against “Rangers” goes, this would simply be a claim in the liquidation, and therefore pointless and valueless.
It would be a vindictive and irrational act for the football authorities to order Sevco, as a condition of membership, to “repay” other teams.
The one factor that might give other teams a chink of light, and could cause Mr Doncaster to panic even more, would be what happens if SPL titles are removed from Rangers. If their place is simply left blank, and the records disclose no champion that season, then there is no issue.
However if Rangers is removed from the league table, then everyone moves up one place. The SPL pays the prize money. In that event the SPL could find itself faced with claims for extra prize money for at least any competition affected over the last five years, and possibly longer.
I have not done the sums, but I suspect that could be a sizeable amount, and the SPL will not be able to get it back from “Rangers”.
At the finish though the negotiation process re the SPL investigation seems a simple one.
1 Is, as requested by the SFA, Sevco Scotland Ltd willing to accept the outcome of the SPL disciplinary process as regards EBT use at Rangers FC?
2 If no, then the membership is not transferred as the necessary conditions are not complied with.
3 If yes, then there might be room for discussion as to whether or not there might be penalties affecting the existing team, such as expulsion or fines, in the event of a guilty verdict.
4 The decision of Sevco determines effectively if there will be anyone there from “Rangers” to contest the charges. If Sevco accept they are a part of the process, then they will fight Rangers corner.
5 If they do not, then the proceedings continue with no contradictor.
I am sure though that the wise men in the meetings have found much more than that to speak about.
We shall see what today brings – my own thought, based on nothing other than unsubstantiated speculation, is that the membership will be transferred and that the SPL investigation will quietly be forgotten about (or at least that is what all parties to the meeting will hope for).
Posted by Paul McConville