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Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/14/2012

A week and a half after Rangers' administrators invited "best and final offers" it appears at first glance that not much is happening in the way of a conclusion. If press reports are to be believed the Blue Knights offer would see creditors receiving £10 million through a CVA. The alternative offers envisage a business and assets sale thought to mean a return of at least double for the creditors. In any other situation this would be a no brainer for the administrators but as ever the issues to be resolved are not purely financial they are also footballing.

For months now this blog has stated two things consistently. Firstly I have maintained that the end game would be a business and assets deal that would save the football club but not the existing company. Secondly I have maintained that any punishment imposed on Rangers should be based on the existing rules and regulations. Clearly this will not come to pass with commercial considerations being prioritised a scenario that will serve only to disappoint and disenfranchise football supporters of all persuasions.

A business and assets sale
Paul Murray's Blue Knights are looking to purchase the shares of Rangers Football Club plc and agree a CVA with creditors which would see around £10 million shared out. Paul Murray was a member of the Rangers board who ran up the initial debts which created the scenario whereby Lloyds could dictate to David Murray he had to sell to Craig Whyte, despite all concerned having commissioned and reviewed due diligence which fully laid out his past business dealings. He was a member of the board while EBTs were being used. As a director in the 5 years prior to Rangers undergoing an insolvency event the SFA's fit and proper rules should prevent him having any further involvement. The SFA's silence on this point is deafening. To date these issues have been largely dismissed on the basis that David Murray ran Rangers alone. Sorry but that doesn't wash with me. As a director you have legal responsibilities to ensure the company is being run in the interests of the shareholders, that is all the shareholders not just David Murray. Am I now to believe that someone who sat by while all this was going on is to be trusted to run the football club?

The other key point regarding Murray's bid is that he wants to buy the shares. As a basic principle this is not something the administrators have any power to do. In the absence of any explanation of how Craig Whyte would be compelled to sell his shares such an arrangement would need his agreement. Presumably Paul Murray is either happy to reward Whyte for his year in charge with a return on the £1 he spent or he is expecting Whyte to give them away. Even supposing the bold Craig did succumb to a fit of conscious Andrew Ellis this week again asserted his belief that he is in fact the owner of 24.9% of the shares. Would he be seeking to establish ownership if he was then just going to give them away to Murray? The point I am making is this is a far more complicated scenario than selling the business and assets. Even setting aside the big tax case it looks certain to see at least Ellis dragging the process through the courts. I cannot conceive of how a share sale can be achieved with the necessary speed.

Despite all this the Blue Knights' bid has the support of the various Rangers supporters group which puzzles me. If I was being cynical I would suggest there are people out there who are enjoying being in the lime light a little too much and are potentially eyeing a seat on the board as the fans' representative. The logic for the support is that this is the only bid which avoids liquidation and therefore saves the club's history. This is for me a complete falsehood. The administrators have failed to be explicit enough in their attempts to convey to the fans, media and Scottish football public at large that it is not the club which will be liquidated, it is the company. It was notable that they recently stated "We would stress, however, that if a CVA could not be achieved, bidders have discussed with us the next best alternative being the sale of the business to a new legal entity which would continue to trade as Rangers Football Club".

There are variations in how it can be achieved and I am deliberately keeping it simple because continually going over technicalities like securities and order of creditor payment bores most folk. In basic terms a business and assets sale would go as follows:
1. The administrators sell the business and assets to a "newco". This sale would see transfer of the stadium (and contents), training ground, employees and intellectual property i.e. the name Rangers Football Club, the badge and crucially the current SPL share and SFA membership.
2. This raises the money used to give the creditors their pennies in the pound return - at present this would be a better result for them than the Blue Knights' proposed CVA
3. Rangers Football Club plc is liquidated. Rangers Football Club continue in the SPL.

If this was any other business this solution would be a no brainer. As the business of this company is running a football club it clearly is more complicated. Normally the transfer of employees would be straight forward but again football regulations need to be considered to ensure this is allowed. Additionally the solution hinges on the transfer of the SPL share and SFA membership. The revelation this week the SPL was preparing to change the existing rules to ensure that a "newco" would start each season minus a minimum of 15 points and 75% of their share of revenues was greeted by the various supporters groups as proof that the football authorities were out to obstruct a resolution for Rangers. It was in truth the complete opposite. If the club is not Rangers but in fact a completely new club what possible basis is there for punishing them? None. The punishment is based precisely on the fact it would still be Rangers. You cannot therefore suggest the club retains responsibility for the historical misdeeds of David Murray and Craig Whyte's board and then deny them the rest of their history. The Rangers Football Club which would play in the SPL next season is the same Rangers Football Club playing in the SPL this season. It is the club who reached the 2008 UEFA Cup Final, it is the club of Bill Struth, Jock "Tiger" Shaw, the Barcelona Bears, RS McColl, the Loving Cup, "Davie Cooper on the wing", 9 in a row and eleven young boys who kicked it all off at Flesher's Haugh.

Precedent
When previously advocating the notion that the club can survive when the existing company dies I have been asked for precedents. I cited Fiorentina and Napoli as examples of clubs who went through an insolvency that lead to the end of the company but who survived as a club. Anyone who had the pleasure of attending the 2008 UEFA Cup Semi final in Florence will tell you Fiorentina are a grand old club in a grand old city. The passion of the fans remains despite the ignominy of having to start over in Serie C2. I for one wouldn't have dared tell their support they were not the same club once graced by Batistuta and Laudrup.

This example though isn't enough to satisfy some so how about the following from the Premiership:
- Fulham Football Club (1987) Limited
- Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club (1986) Limited

A trip to Craven Cottage is one of the most enjoyable experiences in the EPL. It is the polar opposite of a trip to a modern identikit fake plastic stadium branded and sullied by a corporate sponsored name. The ground is small and sits tightly in the surrounding neighbourhood. They still have a glorious Archibald Leitch main stand and pride of place is given to a statue of their greatest player form the 60s Johnny Haynes. As a club they are a wee bit posh, a wee bit twee and a wee bit diddy but you have to love them for it. They notably also have an undeniable sense of self and of their heritage as London's oldest professional football team. There is no question that Fulham date back to 1879 when the club was formed and not 1987 when the current limited company began. Likewise Wolves' website lists them as having won 3 of league titles and 4 FA cups, and as UEFA Cup runners up all of which pre-date the formation of the current limited company in 1986.

Rangers do not deserve special treatment. They deserve to be treated in the same way any other UEFA member club would be. If clubs in Europe's largest leagues have retained their history and identity then I see no reason why Rangers would not.

"Sporting integrity"
I covered the self interest that was coming to the fore previously and will refrain from going over old ground. The important point here is that two weeks ago the father of "sporting integrity" Peter Lawell blinked when he responded to the Diddy 10's desire to change the voting structure of the SPL. It was an acknowledgement that Celtic do need Rangers from a commercial perspective. Whilst the Celtic board have employed lawyers to ensure the maximum possible punishment is exerted on Rangers they are not going to do anything to the detriment of their own club. Or to be more accurate as directors of a plc they are duty bound to maximise the profitability for their shareholders. Were they to do anything other than ensure Rangers remain in the SPL they would be having a direct negative impact on TV revenues. Equally though in allowing Rangers to continue in the SPL with a severe points penalty they would be guaranteeing themselves access to the Champions League millions. Well I say guaranteed but that would of course require Neil Lennon to actually win a European qualifying tie. None of this is meant as a criticism of Celtic or their board. They are entitled to do as they wish. It is just an assessment of the harsh commercial realities of modern football.

However, the SPL's decision to create new rules will be viewed as unsatisfactory by virtually every football supporter in Scotland and rightly so. As I outlined above for me it was a major positive. The ratification of these rules will permit Rangers to remain in the SPL and will ensure the two business and assets deals on the table from the American and Singapore groups are a viable solution. I am though in a very small minority with most Rangers fans instinctively viewing this is an opportunity to exert unprecedented and unjust punishment on Rangers. Supporters of other clubs meanwhile will view the changes as being designed to purely to ensure Rangers survive. For those frothing at the mouth at the prospect of Rangers in Division 3 without even the consolation of a glorious history only disappointment awaits. Anyone for jelly and ice cream?

The problem with all this though is that we will have an end result which satisfies nobody. In creating new rules and punishments justice will not be seen to be done. I suspect that faced with the prospect of struggling to mount a title challenge and no European football for three years the number of Rangers fans looking to say "f##k the lot of them" and start over in division three or even more fancifully go to England will grow.

Scottish football is facing the prospect of a lot of unsatisfied supporters and an uncontested top flight. Celtic might well have managed to celebrate last week's SPL win like it was the Champions League but I would imagine they would struggle to dispel the underlying sense of unease at lifting the championship due to points deductions handed down to Rangers on an ongoing basis. None of this makes for a healthy SPL.

The end game
At the moment I have no clear preference on who ends up owning Rangers. Understandably scepticism regarding relatively unknown foreign bidders is high but as far as Paul Murray goes I am far from adopting the view it is better the devil you know. If any of the bidders were to come forward and promise the following they would have my full support:
1. They will ensure the club is run on a responsible financial basis and continue with the current emphasis on youth and signing players who can be sold on for a profit; and
2. They will exit in 5 years once the club has been placed on a sound financial footing, is challenging for the league again and is back in Europe by way of a share sale to the club's support (i.e. essentially following the Fergus McCann blue print).

Right now the Blue Knights have the backing of the majority of the Rangers support. I believe this is partially driven by the coverage (spun or otherwise) this bid has received in the Scottish press and the false presumption any solution other than a share sale creates some form of "new" Rangers. I can understand the more rabid elements of the Celtic support wishing to promulgate such a notion but I would hope that most rationale people would be able to distinguish between an ownership structure and a football club. In the absence of a material change in the Blue Knights' offer the Rangers support will ultimately need to accept that the solution may not be exactly what they expected or wanted but hold your nose and ignore the stink. Suck up the points and financial penalties the SPL will impose, be thankful Rangers have survived and let’s resolve to ensure that our expectations of success never allow the board to be blinded regarding their financial responsibilities. The end result will not satisfy anyone in Scottish football but at least there will still be Scottish football.

I never thought I'd see the day when Ibrox resounded to our support singing Bob Marley but the Bears at the St Mirren game were absolutely correct. "Don't worry, about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright".

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Comments

Posted by thomas on 04/14/2012

As a Celtic fan I have to agrre with this article.
Yes Rangers deserve punished, but not the support.

We need Rangers and lets not kid ourselves on... Hail Hail.

C'mon the hoops and good luck the gers in this hard time for them..

Posted by wallsa on 04/14/2012

god bless the rangers watp everything will be alright

Posted by JohnBhoy on 04/14/2012

wallsa....

You are not a Celtic fan, get real who are you trying to kid.

Ragers have not paid bills, tax, NI, PAYE, Transfer monies etc etc... All the while they have continued to buy in and loan players.

Meanwhile, we have everyone else in the league playing by the rules, living within their meens. This is unfai on every level, Ragers have benifited from FINANCIAL DOPING, and should be punished by the full letter of the law. (We know this will not happen already however as the SPL are attempting to rush through new rules which will secure NewcoRagers a path into the SPL despite being a new club.

The SPL and their establishment club is rotten to the core.

This isn't to even mention the ILLEGAL dual contracts Ragers have been allegedly paying their players with for over a decade.

Fans of Celtic and other clubs will not sit back and watch the sporting integrity of Scottish football be flushed down the toilet.

Ragers FC financially and morally bankrupt.

Posted by duccablue on 04/14/2012

cheers Dougie. A concise and well written piece.

Posted by Patrick on 04/14/2012

I've an idea Rangers...

Pay you're taxes.

For God's sake servicemen are dying every day, pay you're queen and country the money you stole.

:-)

Posted by mighthatters on 04/14/2012

? We Avoid Tax Paying ?

Posted by Eamonn on 04/14/2012

where are the pennies?

Posted by champions 12 on 04/14/2012

NO to Newco

Any new club must start from bottom to ensure sporting integrity.

Posted by StevieBhoy on 04/14/2012

Surprisingly good article. Spoiled by the unnecessary but expected dig at Celtic. I never hear a Rangers fan try to say something remotely negative about Rangers without feeling the need to add something negative about Celtic as if that somehow evens things up! However Celtic HAVE paid their taxes, PAYE, NIC and all creditors. Rangers haven't and that is simply cheating all other competitors. I do however agree that Rangers should be punished under existing rules. There is NO accommodating a liquidated team straight back into the SPL under existing rules! That way if Rangers are liquidated a newco "Rangers" need to apply to the SFL for admittance to Division 3! End of. If their application is considered good enough then a newco "Rangers" can start in Div 3 minus oldco history and debts. Any suggestion that a newco "Rangers" can have their sporting history and not their financial history is nonsense! If it's simply oldco Rangers dressed up then HMRC etc will be after their money!

Posted by Fray on 04/14/2012

Patrick, would that be the same "servicemen" your fans attack with poppy banners then!! Sing songs about the IRA that killed them! No morality from you prat.

Posted by ThreeLittleBirds on 04/14/2012

champions12 maybe you should read the article again , Newco does not mean new club , it means a new company will run the club ... Rangers football club, the same Rangers football club who kicked their first ball in 1872 and went on to win a world record 54 titles. Johnbhoy you said it yourself " allegedly " so lets not forget that at this stage there is no proof of any duel contracts . Also would like to point out that Rangers are not the only club in the UK to have used EBT and Rangers have as yet not being found gulty of any wrong doing , it was Whyte who never paid the taxman and that is the reason we are in admin ..

54 titles won by the skill and hard graft of our players who were all legally registered with the SFA .. unless anybody can offer some sort of prove to back up the allegations ?

Posted by Anonymous on 04/14/2012

The comment with the smiley face to follow up 'servicemen' are dying should be removed and removed quickly.

Posted by Oaxaca on 04/14/2012

NOT paying transfer fees,
NOT paying taxes,
Using illegally registered players.

This is the bunch that is to be welcomed back into the SPL with a slap on the wrist?

This is how we teach our youth about responsibility and fair play?

makes me sick.

Posted by ally on 04/14/2012

An excellant article. Just a pity about the unwashed ars*holes who have to come on to a Rangers page to spread their poison. I'm pretty sure Rangers would have paid all the tax money owed but probably knew the vast majority would go on dole money and crisis loans for the beggars who blight OUR land.Maybe you can tell me the difference between what Cel*ic did in 1994 and what Rangers may do now. Are you trying to sweep the Pacific shelf 595 story under the carpet?

Posted by soldierbhoy on 04/14/2012

Wind this club up, Sell all their assets and let them start again with no history. They cheated plain and simple. Total embaressment to Scottish football.

Posted by mick d on 04/14/2012

You said:

'I would imagine they would struggle to dispel the underlying sense of unease at lifting the championship due to points deductions handed down to Rangers on an ongoing basis'.

ehhh? what about the other eight points? To tell you the truth I wouldn't give a monkeys if we won it by 1 point this year. Remember Celtic did not need to cheat unlike Rangers.

I'm afraid that a CVA on the basis of 10m is also pie in the sky. You will be liquidated and your sqaulid club will be no more.

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/14/2012

Mick I have covered my views on this year's title plenty of times on here. The point you raise is regarding future titles. The rules envisage a minimum of either a third of the previous season's points or 15 points deducted. In the case of Rangers if this is points won this season you are in all likelihood talking an absolute minimum deduction of 25 points. The league is over before a ball is kicked. To question the appetite of any supporter for such a scenario is perfectly fair. Equally if Celtic fans are up for celebrating such wins then good luck to you.

Posted by William King on 04/14/2012

I find the new (and surely genuine) concern for Her Majesty and her armed forces from the sporting wing fans to be, well, touching.

I think we can all look forward to poppy sales at the glitter dome soaring.

Posted by ThreeLittleBirds on 04/14/2012

Soldierbhoy and all the others posting on here calling Rangers cheats , do you have any proof to back up the claims of duel contracts and are you aware that other clubs across the UK including Celtic ( look at the celtic annual report for season 2005-06 for prove of this ) have also used EBT , are all these clubs also cheats or does it just suit your agenda to point the finger at Rangers?

As things stand at this moment Rangers are only guilty of not paying tax during the Whyte era ..that does not amount to decades of cheating or tarnish any trophys won by the club

Posted by RangerRab on 04/14/2012

lets look at another scenario: rangers win the BTC.A result is imminent, maybe next week.
(I believe HMRC will not win because they've neverbeen able to produce letters saying players/employees didn't need to repay 'loans'.)
where does that leave everything ?
The new owner only owes HMRC the tax CW didn't pay.
That leaves the Ticketus money used to pay off the bank debts. Will Ticketus pursue a new Rangers owner who isn't TBK ? Will Ticketus write off £17million & offer repayments similar to those offered to TBK ?
All of a sudden things aint so bad after all. Only the fitba debts which Bill Miller or Bill Ng would easily take care of.
(all provided of course CW wiiling to sell shares)

Posted by Manticlops on 04/14/2012

"...the next best alternative being the sale of the business to a new legal entity which would continue to trade as Rangers Football Club."

A new legal entity, by definition, can't 'continue' to do anything. Nice try though.

Posted by sid on 04/14/2012

we will celebrate every title to the full knowing it was achieved fairly.Even to this day you are cheating still not paying your taxes. As long as we live Rangers will be known as cheats..

Posted by Anonymous on 04/14/2012

Oaxaca 3 hours, 5 minutes ago

NOT paying transfer fees,
NOT paying taxes,
Using illegally registered players......This makes me laugh when everybody knows your lot poached players from hibs to start your bigoted team with....Your owner

Posted by Shuggie on 04/14/2012

I am a Celtic supporter, and like a lot of my mates say, it's good to have a laugh seeing them suffer, but the jokes over now.

Scottish fitba needs Rangers, we need Rangers, just like they need us.......
Scottish footbal, as in the SPL as a competitive league will die without them, we will win every year and I don't care what you say going to Celtic park knowing the title is won before a ball is kicked is going to be boring in the extreme......

And that will affect atmosphere and attendances, not to mention how on earth can we attract top footballers when there is no competition? As for Europe, how do we prepare for serious football competition when we are beating every team in the league easily....

Be careful what you wish for people, and remember, you get fed up kicking someone when they are down, there will come a time when you will be praying for them to come back..

Posted by Buddy Morrisey on 04/14/2012

Good to see some Rangers supporters trying to bring some reasoned thought out positions to the discussion. Pity about the attempt to play the dualism card of the football club and the company.

It was the football club and the company which operated a sectarian employment policy for about 80 years. It was the football club and company which benefitted for at least 20 years from the illegal use of EBTs which are being appealed through the FTT(T). And it was the last two SPL competitions where Rangers did not pay their taxes or their creditors including HMRC and the ambulance service once more the football club and the company benefitted together.

Perhaps some day soon we'll have Rangers fans (the decent ones anyway) aiming to turn their back on all of these aspects of the past 100 years and start a newco to be proud of.

When the tribunal announces its outcome we will then be talking about one of the Greatest Sporting Scandals of All Time. Nothing to be proud of.

Posted by ArabsAgainstNewco on 04/14/2012

The SPL rules have been drawn up to keep Rangers in the SPL in the event of liquidation - simple. If liquidation happens, don't get confused about this being the same club "who reached the 2008 UEFA Cup Final," etc. as the author suggests. It ain't. It's a new company that has nothing to do with old company. If it had anything to do with the old company, the existing creditors would be all over it.

Note the wording of the resolution -"Resolution 2A proposes further sporting sanctions in the event that any Club undergoes an Insolvency Transfer Event (i.e. transfers its share in the SPL to a new company where this occurs because of the insolvency of the transferor) of 10 points in each of two consecutive seasons from the Insolvency Transfer Event." The aim of this resolution is to punish a club which is liquidated but is allowed to transfer its SPL share to a new company. Repeat these words - NEW COMPANY. Which means starting from scratch. Which means no prior history. End of story.

Posted by General Tilly on 04/14/2012

The notion that RFC can rack up debts of anywhere between 50 - 130 million, 'walk away' from them and still be considered the same club from the point of view of trophies won, but not the same club from the point of view of the people it owes money to is about as shameful and disgusting a notion as I've ever heard.

While the SPL might contemplate such a sickening spectacle we must demand that the SFA prevent it.

It is against the SFA Licensing Handbook for a club license to be transferred from one legal entity to another.

I would expect this rule to be enforced.

If 'newco' does happen, then it will need a new SFA license. It will need a new company name. It will need a new license to play in Europe - after three years. And if it wins a trophy eventually, it will be its first.

That's the price for 'walking away' from so much debt.


Posted by Randolf Scott on 04/15/2012

I have followed events from Australia and believe as occurred with our top rugby league club, the Melbourne Storm, that if you have flouted the rules and gained an unfair advantage over competing teams, then you should be punished. I would like to see Rangers continue in the SPL as the Old Firm is what captures international attention. However, there needs to be an appropriate penalty for accruing an illegal, unfair, cmpetitive advantage over the other 11 teams in the SPL. Otherwise it sends the wrong message to society. Taking an Australian perspective, I am a Melbourne Storm fan and was outraged at the penalties it received for breaking the rules. However, after some time, I have now come to the view that the penalties were just and that my team had gained an advantage over other teams while it was breaking the rules.

Posted by grousebeater on 04/15/2012

Why do the great uneducated have to encroach on matters relating to Rangers. As one posted, Rangers are an "embaressment to Scottish Football". Back to skool and resit your 5plus, and you might also polish up on the history you,re always singing about and find out more about newco Pacific Shelf and its £2.00 capital.

Posted by ROBERT on 04/15/2012

At last someone who talks 95% sense,the only part that surprises me is ,that Rangers are allowed to remain in the SPL.
I have listened to all the present rules and correct me if I am wrong:any club which starts as a NEWCO must apply to remain in the Spl if this is refused they must apply to the 3rd division as there would be a pace there.
Most of the above statement is accurate,but,another but,10 million pounds in the pot for anything over 150 to 175 million is peanuts.
Why dont they devide the 10 million taking out the tax they owe,pay all the tax back over a period od say 20/30 years every week payments and that wouls satisfy all.
If this is possible.

Hoops supporter for 55 years.

Posted by The Laird on 04/15/2012

Excellent view on rangers troubles, u have gave me a better insight to things than anything else that i have heard or read cheers for that.

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/15/2012

Ok I can't respond to everything but here are a few thoughts...

Manticlops to clarify:
The existing company - Rangers Football Club plc
The business - The existing company's BUSINESS is the ownership and administration of Rangers Football Club
The new legal entity - this is the company owned by Bill Ng or whoever who buy the business and assets
The liquidated company - Rangers Football Club plc who at this point are no longer owners of Rangers Football Club

You may not like the distinction between a business and a company. However, it is an established legal principle. Every day hundreds of deals are done for the business and assets. Most stories you read of businesses being saved from "going bust" in the papers will in fact be such a deal. Are you suggesting different rules should apply to Rangers and such an option should not be available? Perhaps the moral outrage is not about Rangers but part of a wider Glasgow based effort to reform UK corporate and insolvency law? Perhaps. Nice try.

As for the cry of "cheat, cheat, cheat" I covered this in a recent blog. Oddly it attracted few comments. Perhaps people favour shouting over debate - http://blogs.soccernet.com/rangers/archives/2012/03/crime_and_punishment.php

Randolf raises an interesting point but Melbourne Storm were punished for breaching a salary cap. WIthout such a definitive cap "financial doping" is very difficult to prove. In football nobody has an issue with Man City being bankrolled by a Sheik or with Bara (officially the greatest club side in the world ever ever ever) running up a debt the size of a small country's GDP. The two scenarios are therefore not comparable. Off topic but Australian notions of fairness in sport are beyond me since both major codes have leagues where you don't all play twice and then have a play off system where you can lose a game but still ultimately win. I do though like the salary cap and I do like the fact as each code is locked in a battle for supremacy neither can win people support not simply a club but also the game. We'll just call it cultural differences since you can never change football/soccer's attitudes.

I think what the comments on here go to prove is that there will ultimately be a lot of disappointed football fans when all this has run its course which will be much to Scottish football's detriment.

Finally I believe that it is important to acknowledge not just the good but also the bad of your history. (One of the first things I wrote on here was about the Old Firm's respective heritage and how it should be viewed in the context of the modern game - http://blogs.soccernet.com/rangers/archives/2011/03/sympathy_for_the_devils.php#more) However, that does not mean I will allow comments on here regarding Celtic Boys Club. I realise the Old Firm rivalry is such that no quarter is asked and none is given. However, point scoring over such issues is not something that will be published on here. I try to keep censorship to a minimum but there has to be some limits.

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/15/2012

A concise and refreshingly frank assessment from Paul Murray in this morning's papers which backs up my view of the end game here:

"Liquidation isn't necessarily the same as a newco which is bidding for the assets of the football club," Murray said. "That is when someone is offering to buy the trade and assets of the football club, but still run it as a football club. They are not going to shut the place down."

Hopefully the beginning of a concerted effort to put across the reality of a business and asset sale not equating to a new Rangers.

Posted by DAVIE on 04/15/2012

Great article as usual,though I disagree with your view on Paul Murray,I think if any of the other bids are accepted then we could end up another Portsmouth
I apologize in advance if you have already covered this Douglas but do you know how Whyte managed to get £24 million before actually owning Rangers without commiting a crime,SDM said Whyte received confidential information from the previous board,
but even so I can`t see how Whyte could receive the money a month before he owned the club

Posted by Randolf Scott on 04/16/2012

In response to Douglas Cameron. I concur with you that the Melbourne Storm situation is different, but the principles are not. If Rangers had paid all its taxes etc it would have meant less money to purchase more expensive players etc and its roster would have been weaker (same situation as Melbourne Storm). Instead, it did not meet its fiduciary obligations and spent like a drunken sailor, to the point where it has ended up in administration. I believe that Rangers accrued an unfair advantage over the other 11 SPL clubs during this period. In terms of penalties, it is crucial that Rangers remain in the SPL, but some pain needs to be inflicted to ensure that Rangers and the other SPL clubs get the mesage that they are required to run their clubs appropriately. The biggest losers in this are the Rangers fans.

Posted by joel on 04/16/2012

You had me going for a second. That inspiring comparison to Fulham had me thinking. Until I remembered that Fulham was never sent into liquidation on the basis of tax evasion and payroll fraud.

Nice try, though.

Posted by p on 04/16/2012

Sorry to say this but some Rangers fans really do come across as morons and have been doing so for quite some time.

It goes back further but lets begin with Whyte. You lapped up his nonsense when anyone with internet access could find out the truth.
You wanted a boycott of the BBC when they exposed the same truths.
You were convinced you would never go into administration...

Even now when you have been shown to be wrong every time you still haven't actually found out about the full details of your tax cases. You still believe a load of tripe offered to you by the same sources who you believed before.

Seriously, do you not ask yourselves why most of the Celtic support - and some fans of other teams too - knew more about the goings on at your club long before you? Put the rivalry aside for a min and just think about that.

On the tax cases themselves, you don't even realise that the BTC is an APPEAL. HMRC have found you guilty ALREADY. There's more but you seem a lost cause.

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/16/2012

"p" I think your comment has somehow made it on to my blog by mistake since I have written on the seriousness of the situation for a year now and regularly questioned what is contained in the media. If you had actually done me the courtesy of reading the piece above you'd have noticed the criticism of what is currently being peddled by the media and supporters groups regarding the Blue Knights bid.

Rangers fans are no more a homogenous group than any other set of football fans. To treat them as such marks you out as a "moron"

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/16/2012

Randolf I'm not going to re-write my entire "Crime and punishment" article I linked to above and which covered the fact spending money you don't have is not an issue in football. The week it was revealed Barca and Real Madrid (the clubs everyone seems to hope contest the Champions League final) have a combined debt of 1.2 billion euros is not the time to be debating an unfair advantage. Yes not paying tax is a different matter but an existing legal frame work exists to punish the company and as importantly the directors for this. The impact on the pitch is no different to the profligacy of the Spanish elite.

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/16/2012

Joel as I have stated before on here EVERY company which goes into liquidation will owe HMRC. If you have evidence to show Fulham were the exception that proves the rule then feel free to share. Now in all likelihood if we could see the creditors list it might be they only owed the tax man say £100k. Is that ok? Is that better than Rangers? Maybe it is me but I always viewed morality as being an absolute concept. Nice try though.

When researching Fulham I came across some really interesting stuff and clearly over the years their supporters have been very active which is something we Bears would do well to learn from. Anyone genuinely interested in football finance, not simply the "death" of Rangers, might enjoy a look over this document - https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:yJQEVPue5jUJ:www.fulhamsupporterstrust.com/storage/Football_Finance_and_Fulham_June2005.doc+fulham+football+finance+supporters+trust&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgDYU8QJOXRcdCGI8d_9L5nkT1zv4AuK-ssv8NZha_paRP6KmTy2kZrQHPWgUrtLpKk9otofZkibKes7Yrg1sCV0jSWoLWng_NU-OV2zBV9lZ2NGatdQJ_IU7cjjjJr0tpLG7RW&sig=AHIEtbTlOoh41FDPCjxSd6Cyz1QFwwA0iA

Now this is a blog about Rangers not Fulham's historical financial set up. However, the group structure is worth a look not only as it confirms my point that 1987 Ltd = Fulham FC but also as it details the ultimate parent company as being based in the BVI, always a favourite for those adverse to paying tax. Trying to structure your affairs to avoid tax is perfectly legitimate if done legally and I am not in anyway suggesting anything untoward regarding Mr Al Fayed or his companies. It does though illustrate, as ever, how incompatible modern day football finances have become with the view of what is right or fair held by of most fans living the day to day reality of a 9 to 5.

Posted by Graeme Cant on 04/16/2012

Interesting article but as it's incorrect concerning Company law it damages it's credibility.

You state "Or to be more accurate as directors of a plc they are duty bound to maximise the profitability for their shareholders." This is totally incorrect.

The 2006 Companies Act states "..A director must act in a way (they) consider in good faith would be most likely to promote the success of the Company for the benfit of it's members as a whole and in doing so have regard to .."

"..the interests of the Company's employees"

"..the need to foster the Company's business relationship with suppliers, customers and others"

"..the desirability of the Company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct"

The duty of a director is to look after the interests of the Company which as a separately constituted legal body is not owned by the shareholders. Failure to do so is a breach of their statutory obligation which could in potential civil liability.

Posted by Douglas Cameron on 04/16/2012

Graeme thanks for your input. Always happy to be corrected on the finer points of company law (I'm a numbers man myself). The point I was seeking to make stands though, the directors will act purely in the best interests of Celtic and and in doing maximise the profitability and long term prospects of Celtic plc. Quite right too.

Posted by Randolf Scott on 04/16/2012

Response to Douglas Cameron. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. In all honesty, I wish Rangers all the best with its current situation and hope the other 11 clubs do not take advantage in one form or another. Rangers is a great club (but like all clubs has an unworthy element within it ranks) and is needed for the SPL to remain interesting to its international audience. There is a massive following of the EPL in Australia and a considerable spillover to the Old Firm. I for one would lose interest in the SPL if Rangers were somehow excluded from the Premier division. And I am a Celtic fan.

Posted by joel on 04/17/2012

Owing taxes and evading taxes for years are two different things. Btw, the burden of proof to support your argument is on you, not me. That's the way this works. You make claims as to why Rangers' situation is like Fulham's--or anyone else's for that matter--and then back it up with facts. You did little of that. Rather you made a rather underhanded attempt at playing on the success of another club coming back from the brink when really, from what I've read, their issues didn't resemble the top to bottom corruption that Rangers have been displaying for a decade.

Rangers deserves the heaviest-handed of punishments, but they won't get it. It's not about financial struggles. This isnt Gretna we're talking about. This is about out and out cheating that has persisted under the noses of the SFA and SPL for a decade. The financial struggles were just the catalyst to bring it all to light.

Posted by Douglas cameron on 04/17/2012

Joel I have never sought to justify the decisions made by the rangers directors regarding the use of ebts. At present nothing is proven though I agree based on everything I have read I expect there has been evasion and there will be a bill somewhere around the £10m mark. I brought up fulham and wolves as perfectly legitimate examples of 'newcos' who have retained their history. You seem to be suggesting non payment is somehow forgivable while evasion is not. For me both are wrong. Unless i am misinterpreting you we will agree to differ. Rangers retention of their history will of course include the recent dark financial chapters of the Murray and Whyte eras and the fact creditors will ultimately end up out of pocket. No rationale rangers fan is seeking to shy away from what has gone on. I have written plenty in terms of blame, condemnation and punishement but cannot simply write the same blog repeatedly. The point of the article is to set out the basis on which I believe the club rather than the company will be saved. It is also seeking to illustrate that ultimately the vast majority of all Scottish football fans will end up unhappy and disenfranchised which does us ill. Comments from yourself and others more than prove that is going to be the case.

As ever I remain perplexed as to why there is such a desire out there for the rangers support to lose ther club as a result of the financial vandalism and very probably criminal actions of the directors. Each to their own though.

Posted by Zak_De_La_Ranger on 04/22/2012

Brilliant article DC.

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