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Victory for Rangers…But Tomorrow?

By Dan Chapman


With today’s developments at Glasgow Rangers surpassing all that has gone before,  a moment for pause.

Firstly,  we received the news that the terms of the CVA have been approved,  and that the Charles Green consortium is the preferred bidder to take the Club out of administration via a CVA.  Creditors have until 13th June 2012 to file a claim,  with the intention being that administation is exited on 12 July 2012.   Our insolvency lawyers at Full Contact will no doubt enjoy reviewing the detail of the CVA proposal,  and the various implications,  over the coming days.

Secondly,  and of real interest to sports lawyers,   was the news that the Court of Session in Edinburgh has ruled that the Scottish Football Association (SFA) acted beyond its powers in imposing a year-long transfer ban on the Club.   Lord Glennie ruled that the ban should be reconsidered by a SFA appeal panel, on the basis that a transfer ban was not one of the sanctions which the SFA’s rules had available to them (for the offence that Rangers had committed).

On the face of it, this might seem like a rare good day in the recent history of Glasgow Rangers?

We are not so sure.    Following on from the recent debate about the decision to pursue action in the civil courts to seek to overturn the SFA’s decision   (see some commentary from Full Contact’s Dan Chapman on that issue published today by the daily mail)   the decision today may well antagonise both the SFA and FIFA.     Indeed,  we understand that FIFA are monitoring the decision closely and may seek to exert pressure upon the SFA (since FIFA have long since taken a dim view on clubs who attempt to pursue remedies via the civil courts as opposed to via the regulatory bodies that govern the sport).

Reading the detail of Lord Glennie’s judgment,  one wonders if he has opened the door somewhat for the SFA to appease FIFA in any event,  when he said that the fact that he had found the penalty (namely the transfer embargo) to be outside of the powers available did not necessarily mean the club would escape a lighter punishment on appeal to the SFA.  Indeed, the SFA find themselves in a difficult position since they argued before the court that a fine was inadequate,  and therefore they are left with only suspension or expulsion as realistic sanctions.

Is expulsion seriously now on the agenda?  One would have thought that at the very least suspension is  –  and suspension means that Glasgow Rangers would not be permitted to participate in any form of football for, in all probability,  one year.   The consequences of that are far reaching and complex.  It seems clear that whilst this might appear to be a victory for Glasgow Rangers today,  it will be a collision course with the regulatory authorities tomorrow.

UPDATE – via Scotland Tonight

Speaking on Scotland Tonight sports lawyer Dan Chapman said that Rangers are likely looking at suspension or expulsion. Watch the TV interview here

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About Dan
The spearhead and Senior Partner of Full Contact, Dan is an experienced solicitor and advocate, with a specialist background in employment law and sports.

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