I mentioned the rejection of newco Rangers claim for compensation for breach of contract from the players who refused to accept a TUPE transfer from oldco to newco last summer. This was despite Mr Green taking a rosy view of proceedings before the decision was issued.
The reaction on the Rangers website was an appropriate one – stating the import of the decision, but that the claim would continue, with the relevant papers already having been filed.
I noticed that today’s blog by Mr Leggat provided one reaction from a Rangers perspective, which seems, from a cursory glance, to meet the approval of other fans of the Ibrox club.
For those who do not know, Mr Leggat is a respected journalist and author of many years’ standing, who now blogs on Rangers, and primarily on the injustices, iniquities and evils being inflicted upon his favoured team by all and sundry. His views might not be accepted by everyone, but they are rarely dull.
As background the SFA Arbitration Panel is made up of members from a list of willing participants from football, business and the law. It operates on a cab-rank principle – people get chosen in turn for cases, rather than being specifically selected, although conflicts of interest would disqualify a member from sitting on a Panel should that exist.
The Scottish football authorities came up with this as an idea to avoid the problems inherent in the previous system, and as pointed out by the late Paul McBride QC, where committees of SFA members would consider these matters. The SFA decided after hearing the criticism to establish an “arm’s length” system for these matters.
An early decision was taken that the identities of the Panel members would not be made public. The aftermath of the “exposure” of the Gary Allan QC-led Panel which found Rangers and Craig Whyte “guilty” of rule breaches and imposed a transfer “embargo”, which included alleged threats to him and his fellow Panel members, (whether or not these were ever serious) justified the anonymity.
Of course one of the issues in that case was Mr McCoist’s demand to name the panel. Whilst he maybe did not know the names when he made the demand (and I am not suggesting he did) his employer had been an active participant in the proceedings so there was no doubt that “Rangers” knew who the Panel members were. Unlike the Wizard of Oz they did not sit shrouded behind a curtain!
So why does Mr Leggat believe that the newco Rangers TUPE claim lost and what does he want done about it?
First of all, to give a proper analysis of the decision (and I accept I sometimes jump to scrutiny of the outcome without the full reasoning yet having been published) one needs to know the reasons for it. Maybe Mr Leggat has a copy of these reasons and if so publication of them would be a service.
However, without the judgement to hand, it is very hard to offer a worthwhile view of the basis for the decision.
Mr Leggat believes that the decision is purely and simply a result of SFA bias, manipulated by certain individuals in Scottish football. That is a theory of course. It is not one with which I agree, but it seems to be prevalent amongst some Rangers fans.
Where the title of this piece comes in, being a quote from the wonderfully loquacious Yogi Berra, is in Mr Leggat’s demands for action.
As he says:-
So, just who were the three not-so-just men who robbed Rangers of what was rightfully theirs?
The fact is that Peter Lawwell and Stewart Regan’s Scottish Football Association, where Lawwell’s Hibernian pal, Rod Petrie also holds sway, refuse to reveal the names who made up their latest version of the Kremlin’s Politburo. If Justice delayed is Justice denied, then Justice in secret is no form of Justice at all. At least, not in this country, where the guiding principle of the legal system is that Justice must be seen to be done.
Not, however, at Peter Lawwell, Stewart Regan and their Hibernian pal, Rod Petrie’s Scottish Football Association where the guideline is secrecy at all costs. Where principles do not apply. Where the rule of the Kremlin holds sway. Mind you, we all know how it ended for the Politburo.
One might excuse the hyperbole in comparing the administrators of a sport with the rulers of a police state which, over many years, locked up millions of its citizens without trial, executed many more, and caused the death of countless more by starvation and disease, through policies founded on idealism rather than reality.
After all, hyperbole is the stock-in-trade of many journalists.
But is Mr Leggat not aware of three things?
First of all, did he not read of the issues which arose as a result of the “exposure” of the Gary Allan panel?
Secondly, is he not aware that Rangers were represented at the Arbitration Panel, and indeed Mr Green was clearly there, if not for the whole proceedings than at least at some point!
Maybe Mr Leggat could ask Mr Green when next engaged in one of his Ibrox book-signing sessions to tell him who the members of the panel were. After all, Rangers know!
Thirdly, the whole point of the case, at this stage, is to determine which “Rangers” if any, is entitled to pursue the case. After all, we have oldco, newco and “the Club”, all of which are seen, for some purposes as separate entitles. Even Mr Green has never sought to argue that the three form a Trinity, being three aspects of the one entity. Mr Green has no desire for newco to be seen as anything to do with oldco, except as the succeeding owner of the Club.
Journalists who voice their opinions, as Mr Leggat does, will engage in writing designed to attract readers (after all, could you imagine a newspaper written entirely by me? Goodness, no!). However it helps if the pieces have a connection to reality somewhere. (One might say that his piece has worked, as I am writing about it.)
I do not mean to suggest that Mr Leggat’s views are those of Rangers. Clearly they are not, otherwise he would have a platform on the official Rangers website. Equally they may very well represent the views of only a few vocal fans. I simply do not know.
However the piece I refer to today, if followed by the multitudes, would take us back down the same road travelled last year.
I think everyone would agree that that would not be a good thing!
Posted by Paul McConville