Saturday, July 07, 2012

Rangers newco: The wrath of Raith

In a football story jammed with villains, Raith Rovers have offered up one of the few men to be hailed as a heroe.

Director Turnbull Hutton has consistently called out the SFA and the SPL on their bullying and their half truths.

It was Hutton spoke of "corruption" on the steps of Hampden, the parish councillor taking the fight to the doors of Westminster.

On Friday evening Raith released a statement regarding next week's SFL vote.

It should make the SPL and the SFA - and anyone who does actually care about Scottish football - uncomfortable.

Note the focus on the question of Rangers' ownership. As far as I'm aware this is the first time any other club has expressed concern about the medium term viability of the Duff and Phelps/Charles Green carve up of the oldco's assets.

Perhaps nothing more than conjecture. But as I mentioned last week Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster are taking an even bigger risk in so heavily pushing for the First Division compromise if they are not absolutely certain of the sustainability of the new Rangers ownership.

Attention is also brought - as it should be by each and everyone of us - to the essential cowardice of the SPL voting "no" and then shutting up shop, refusing to disown their own chief executives tactics and offering no support to the SFL clubs.

The Raith statement in full:


The club has this evening received the notice of resolutions to be voted on next Friday and we are told to expect an information pack at some time next week. We hope that this pack will present a more balanced report to SFL member clubs than they have so far received.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, financial information provided by Neil Doncaster showed an unrealistic worst case scenario. It showed the impact of potential total loss of 3 TV contracts, all of which had been inexplicably agreed on the basis that the broadcaster could walk away if either Rangers or Celtic were not in the SPL. His information did not, however, set out the potentially positive impact of negotiating replacement contracts with other broadcasters or alternatively the much mentioned possibility of launching SPL TV (which we understand could have been launched within a matter of months).

Mr Doncaster warned SFL members that if these contracts were indeed lost, this would mean the annual payment to the SFL under the Settlement Agreement would either be greatly reduced or not paid at all. Raith Rovers FC believes this not to be the case, and that the SPL would remain both contractually obliged and able to pay the £1.9m – £2m annual sum, even in that worst case scenario. We call upon the SFL Board to clarify its view on this vital point urgently, before club boards finalise their positions on these important votes.

We are also concerned that there has not as yet been an opportunity for clubs to receive legal advice from the SFL and/or debate the potential consequences on the smooth running of our league in the event that the Courts are asked to annull/strike down any of the corporate transactions that have led to the current position of Sevco Scotland Ltd as owners of certain assets of the Rangers oldco. Indeed, the position as regards the potential sanctions to be applied by the Scottish FA via its Appellate Tribunal has also still to be bottomed out. In summary, we remain concerned that the SPL clubs have overwhelmingly voted to pass on this potential time bomb, which may yet explode once passed to the SFL’s jurisdiction, and we are being asked to accept this new company into membership, worse still in our top division.

Without all of this information, and the opportunity for clubs to further discuss these issues on a fully informed basis amongst themselves before the formal SGM, in a similar format to last Tuesday’s meeting, we are concerned that the fairness and transparency of the process itself is at risk of being compromised.

Raith Rovers FC will consider its stance with regard to attendance at this meeting once we receive the information from the SFL.

From www.raithrovers.net