You’ll notice I have not ended the headline above with an exclamation. That’s because it is entirely legitimate and indeed prudent what the company has done. We are talking about non-domestic rates.
Come back! It’s not that dull!
First thing is first. Glasgow City Council believes that Ibrox is owned by Rangers Football Club Ltd (the former Sevco Scotland Ltd).
Why do they say that?
Because Rangers Football Club Ltd DOES own those assets!
Rates are levied on business premises based on a notional rental income or rateable value (RV) which the Assessor determines for each property, based on various factors, including the value of similar premises.
When a revaluation occurs, and the last one was effective on 1st April 2010, there are floods of appeals lodged. A business can also appeal where there has been a “material change of circumstances”.
That is what Rangers Football Club Ltd (formerly Sevco Scotland Ltd) did.
Glasgow City Council’s register lists that company, not RIFC PLC or even Sevco 5088 Ltd, as owner.
The RV for Ibrox was just under £2 million, at £1,916,000. It is now exactly £1 million. As the “rate” payable this year is 46.2p in the pound, the liability has dropped by around £423,000 per annum.
The “material change of circumstances” was the change from being an SPL team to an SFL3 one with the associated drop in income.
In fact, as rates were not paid up to date under Mr Whyte nor whilst the owner was insolvent and in administration, the Council will be delighted to be paid, I am sure.
When Hamilton was relegated 2 years ago its RV reduced by over two-thirds, from £62,500 to £20,500. Its rates bill dropped by around £16,000 per year.
However Dunfermline, relegated last year, have not seen a drop in RV nor does it seem to have appealed. The RV of East End Park is still £37,500.
Maybe in a small way the apparent failure to seek a reduction explains why that club is in administration!
Where does Ibrox stand in the lists of RVs for sporting subjects?
First of all it must be recognised that we are not comparing like with like. A football stadium containing retail outlets, function suites and restaurants will be liable for far more than a ground with a pitch and little else. The fact that RV depends on notional rent chargeable and that this in turn is a function of income generated means that the gross imbalances in Scottish football can be laid bare.
Can you guess what “sporting subjects” have the highest RV in Scotland?
Murrayfield – £2,250,000
Celtic Park – £1,995,000
Hampden – £1,100,000
Ibrox – £1,000,000
Murray Park – £598,500
Celtic’s training facility at Lennoxtown – £398,000
Meadowbank Stadium – £365,000
We then have a gap until:-
Ayr Racecourse – £280,000
Easter Road – £215,000
Pittodrie – £206,000
By contrast Cliftonhill, home of the Wee Rovers, has an RV of £2,450.
The RV for Murray Park did not fall on demotion, presumably on the basis that the change of league did not affect the notional rental income. However there is still an ongoing appeal so, in due course, Rangers might be successful in reducing the rates bill for Murray Park too.
Ironically, having commented that Glasgow City Council lists Rangers Football Club Ltd as correct owner of Ibrox, East Dunbartonshire Council do not do the same for Murray Park. Instead it lists Rangers Football Club PLC as owner. Either this is a typo (which is easy enough to do) or the records have not been updated. Either way it means little.
Coming back to the “costs” to Glasgow, it could be argued, in fact, that there has been financial advantage.
I suspect that policing levels at and around Ibrox on match days are down from SPL days. Especially so for Rangers v Celtic matches!
However the number of fans attending has not dropped too much, so a similar amount of money comes in to the Glasgow economy when Rangers play at home.
So, top line, the rates bill goes down – bottom line – at least it will now be getting paid!
And maybe this piece was that dull after all!
Posted by Paul McConville