UEFA’s treatment of Derry City – a cause for celebration for Rangers fans? By AD Bryce

The discussion surrounding the ‘Rangers FC – new or same club’ question has always included, bubbling below the surface of superficial taunts and assertions, a reasoned debate with arguments presented by both sides. The position – or alleged position – of UEFA is never far from mention, usually as a weapon in the armoury of “new club” advocates. However, evidence relating to a direct precedent of Rangers’ financial meltdown , Derry City FC, calls into question how UEFA officially treat instances of liquidation of football clubs.

Background – UEFA rules and the Derry City precedent

UEFA’s definition of a football club “a legal entity fully responsible for the football team”, contained within their Club Licencing & Financial Fair Play Regulations, is used to argue that – as far as UEFA are concerned – newco Rangers FC (being a new legal entity) are a new/ different/ separate “football club” to now-in-liquidation-oldco Rangers FC. That means founded 2012, no major trophies, old club is ‘dead’ etc.

The story of Derry City FC’s financial meltdown bears an extremely close resemblance to that of Rangers. The legal entity behind Derry City FC – Wellvan Enterprises Ltd – was liquidated in November 2010, with a new company picking up the pieces, the business and assets, attempting to continue Derry City FC – albeit having to start again at the second tier of the FAI league system – again echoing Rangers situation closely.


UEFA’s rules essentially prohibit a new legal entity from entering into European competitions for at least three years – which meant that, despite  a 3rd place finish in the 2011 League of Ireland, the club were not allowed to compete in the 2012-13 Europa League as a result of this rule. However having returned to the top flight and winning the Cup in 2012, the 2013-14 Europa League will finally see Derry City FC return to European competition.

New club? Evidently not…

The most interesting aspect of this return from the wider context is that the “new Derry” club is being treated by UEFA as a continuation of the pre-liquidation “old Derry” club ie. as the same football club, despite being entirely separate legal entities.

Evidence of continuity of Derry City FC from oldco to newco is clear from a glance at the club’s UEFA team page, results from 2013 sitting alongside results from 1965! However, one could plausibly side-step that by putting it down to a slack web-page editor who has, inadvertently, incorrectly represented UEFA’s official position.

The really convincing evidence lies in the calculation of co-efficient points that determines a club’s ranking and thereby its seeding for the competition draw. It’s a key factor in determining the stage at which a club enters a competition and the pedigree of potential opponents. As such, it impacts upon a club’s chances of success and – crucially for clubs at this level – prize money, so is certainly no candidate for casual, throwaway errors.

“Old Derry” enjoyed a relatively successful Europa League campaign in 2009-10, earning themselves a (relatively) healthy haul of 1.275 co-efficient points. These points from 2009-10, won by “old Derry” pre-liquidation, are being included in – and to the benefit of – the ranking of “new Derry”. (Derry City can be found at number 347 on the UEFA list of club rankings)

There can be doubt, UEFA are demonstrably not treating “new Derry” as a new/different/separate club at all, otherwise there’s no way this would have happened. A default, baseline co-efficient value is standardly used to plug the gaps in the 5-season record where a club (a “new” club for instance) has not previously competed in Europe, but this option has been rejected in favour or recognition of points accrued in the 09-10 campaign.

Wider implications regarding Rangers FC

So, clear evidence where a liquidated company, returning “re-formed” as a new legal entity, yet being treated in practice by UEFA (despite that much-heralded sentence in the regulations) as the same football club. The precedent that has been set is, of course, cause for delight for Rangers supporters, whose emotional attachment to their club’s remarkable trophy-laden history is invaluable to them.

For those taking the opposite view, the fact that a club being a “new legal entity” is evidently no obstacle – at least in UEFA’s eyes – to the team’s football history being retained will not be welcomed. After all, this debate has never been about establishing legal/corporate status, but football status – trophies, achievements, world records…

Now, the treatment by the Scottish football authorities of Rangers FC as having survived the Summer of 2012 has lead to vociferous criticism from some quarters; strong allegations of ignoring the rules, breaking the rules, “pretending” a club has survived liquidation, sacrificing integrity for the ‘blue pound’ or even outright bias – all withering criticism of the SFA.

In stark contrast, UEFA have generally been the darling of the “new club” advocates. However, with this example of UEFA similarly treating a formerly-liquidated club as a surviving entity, it will be interesting to see if the same claims of treachery and bias are now directed at the European governing body – can we expect images conjured of a cabal of Derry City supporters plotting in the higher echelons of UEFA? Perhaps of a ruse to manipulate Derry City to smooth the way for recognition of Rangers’ history? Personally, I’ll withhold judgement and happily let the conspiracy theorists do what they do best.

Posted by AD Bryce. He is happy to receive comments on this piece via twitter: @Bryce9a


Oldco – Wellvan Enterprises Ltd: https://www.duedil.com/company/NI028477/wellvan-enterprises-limited

Newco – Derry City Football Club Limited: http://companycheck.co.uk/company/NI601341/DERRY-CITY-FOOTBALL-CLUB-LTD

BBC: Derry banned from 2012-13 Europa League http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17116759

UEFA  rankings http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/uefarankings/club/index.html

“new” and “old” Derry, yet same European history –



Derry City FC – giving away tickets for the 2013-14 Europa League, chuffed at their rankings boost! http://www.derrycityfc.net/2013/05/derry-city-fc-europa-league-prize-draw/




Filed under Guest Posts, Rangers

243 responses to “UEFA’s treatment of Derry City – a cause for celebration for Rangers fans? By AD Bryce

  1. If they are the same club, why can’t they use the same badge?

  2. portpower

    mcfc you`re my savior. Ctr+press home or end. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee………..

  3. rab

    In the fullness of time ( 20+ years ) then the full extent of the activities at ibrox over the last few decades will slowly begin to be released, just like the hillsborough case. No one will be in any doubt as to the scandal that is unfolding just now being hidden from public view to allow the perpetrators to evade judgement until they have wheeled off their mortal coil. The various governing bodies, political, legal and the police who have aided and abetted this criminal activity will be long gone and unnacountable for their actions. An insincere apology will be issued and promises of lessons learned will be all the justice we can hope for. This is the establishment way of dealing with members of the brotherhood who are caught (ahem) red handed. If they think that anyone will ever accept rfc exists as a continuation of its original self then they are sorely mistaken. Neil Lennon could become pope and leader of the world and FIFA at the same time and declare his belief that rfc never died, i would still not accept it, i know what happened and i will never stop stating my view that rfc died, then sevco died ( cos they will ) and how many more it takes until they find a stable base to build a club on will not change my position of what continuity actually recquires. Debating with trolls only justifies the trolls, ignore them, focus on the enablers of theft and cheating during the numerous clubs lifetimes and try to clean them up, only when these cretins are removed from all power will we be able to breathe clean, fresh air.

    P.S Gordon Smith, karma is a bitch. Lets hope he is the first of many to feel the cold winds of justice. At least this site has posters who can state the obvious without trying to hide behind false and undeserved sympathy in an effort to appear impartial.

  4. eastside

    If the history was sold as an asset, which it simply could not have been, but for arguments sake say it was, are the Sevconians saying that anyone could have purchased the history of Rangers? For instance are they saying that if Chuckles hadn’t bought it and say Leyton Orient did, Leyton Orient would have Rangers history?

    • Using your logic the Daily Record is less than 20 yrs old as the new owners couldn’t buy the history from the trustee’s of the Maxwell estate, and the Sunday Mail sending me a book celebrating 100yrs is a fraud?

    • rab

      Maybe they could sell off any years that they won nothing in, it wouldnt affect the world records and might raise some money for the klub. Of course, im being obtuse, you can only buy history in its entirety and not in bite sized chunks, to suggest otherwise would surely be met with the derision such a preposterous proposal deserves.

      I hope the inclusion of hun in “chunks” does not offend adam and his frail sensibilities, and lengthen his hissy fit and self imposed exile. I hope he returns to thunderous applause. Oops, ive done it again. I must be one of they haters they are obsessed with.

  5. Troublesome86

    It was Derry City’s holding compay that was liquidated, not the same as the deadrfc

  6. Troublesome86

    Proof it was Derry City’s holding company that was liquidated and not the club, whereas as Rangers club was liquidated and holding company wasn’t

    Note: ‘Activities of sport clubs’

    • That’s not proof of anything – what you claim was Derry’s “club” didn’t even exist at the time the company (you incorrectly claim was their “holding company”) had ownership of DCFC.

      A nonsense claim.

  7. kmag

    The co-efficient list is hardly convincing proof. There’s at least one club, Unirea Urziceni, on that list which has been dissolved and not reformed in any way whatsoever.

    • All that proves is that club’s – existing or not – stay on the list for 5 years.

      However Derry City FC do exist, and their listed ranking (including co-efficient points from pre-liquidation) are being used to establish their position in the draw for this season, therefore your comparison is not relevant.

  8. montealtodos
    June 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    As long as our Irish Catholics are better than your’s, that will do me. Lennon, 55 players he has taken to Celtic, name 1 that is a Scottish Protestant that has played for him ?

    Who knows and who cares what religion anybody is? These things have never mattered at Parkheid. Are you seriously suggesting that NL wouldn’t sign someone if they were a member of a particular religious group?

  9. scot

    Derry City are refused entry to Europa League by Uefa – as they are new club and despite paying football debts.

    • That article applies to season 2012-13, not this coming season, and was included as a referenced source in the article.

      It does not refute the point of the article – that UEFA are in effect treating Derry City FC as a continuing entity through allocation of co-efficient points of the pre-liquidation Derry to the current entity.

      • scot

        RFC finished second in the SPL before entering liquidation. THE Rangers were not seeded in this years Scottish Cup! maybe an admin error but if same club they should have been seeded. History cannot be sold or transferred.

  10. sarissa

    Europa League List of participants just published on UEFA’s website lists Derry City with the basic Irish national co-efficient only of 1.465, not the ‘old’ Derry City’s 2.475


    Time to re-asess old vs new Rangers ststus?

    • Those one’s you refer to were described as provisional.

      The official rankings for this season have now been published, contradicting the provisional data, state Derry City’s current ranking does indeed include pts accured prior to liquidation of their oldco.

      Therefore the point of the article – that UEFA are in effect treating the club as a continuing entity through allocation of oldco points to the newco Derry – stands.

      • sarissa

        from wikipedia:
        “Although FC Timișoara finished on the second place in the 2010–11 Liga I, the team was relegated to Liga II after the license necessary to play in the first division was denied by Romanian Football Federation.[37] They played in the 2011–12 Liga II under the name of Politehnica Timișoara, and gained promotion back to the Liga I but were again denied the license and were dissolved in September 2012. ACS Recaş was moved to Timişoara and was renamed ACS Poli Timişoara but the fans decided to support the amateur team ASU Politehnica Timişoara.”

        And on the UEFA list you refer to, this dead club has so far been given 1.125 co-efficient points this year – UEFA are just inflexible about making adjustments for non-standard cases!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s