Today we got a legal judgement in one of the cases which has been ongoing, in relation to what happened in 2012. It was in the Kinloch versus Corals case, and the bookie has come out on top, as most of us expected.
Lord Ballantyne, who has considered the evidence, and written the judgement, is pretty unequivocal on what he considers to be the status of Rangers; their “share” in the SPL was sold to a different company, Sevco Scotland Limited. The SPL clubs were asked to vote on whether or not they accepted this new entity as an automatic entrant. They said no. At that point, the new company applied for a place in the Third Division, which was accepted.
This puts it into words we can all understand. This enshrines in the law the facts as we have long understood them to be.
The verdict makes it clear that Rangers was liquidated. The assets were sold to Sevco Scotland Limited, who constructed the new Rangers and then tried to take their SPL membership. Not only did they not get it, but they didn’t get SFA membership either.
The relevant section of the judgement reads thus:
“It was either unchallenged evidence or a matter of admission, that what happened to Rangers at the material time was this: the Rangers Football Club Plc sold inter alia the one share in the SPL to Sevco Scotland Limited. That sale required the approval of at least 8 of the members of the SPL. That application was refused. It was thus no longer eligible to play in the SPL. It thereafter applied to the SFL and was permitted to join the lowest league of the SFL (the five part agreement). The foregoing process cannot be described as being moved by anyone to a lower division, or being moved down or demoted. The dictionary definitions are not apt to cover what happened to Rangers. I am satisfied that what did not happen was that the SPL moved or demoted Rangers to a lower division. Rangers ended up in a lower division by the entry into a contract which allowed them to join the SFL in the third division.”
This was a liquidation, not a relegation.
The judgement describes the notion of “relegation” as put forward by the hacks as “journalistic shorthand.”
I would describe it as journalistic laziness or outright dishonesty, but I now have the law on my side.
Everyone knows full well that this stuff is pure fact.
The newco was given the status of “part time membership of the SFA” and only “associate membership” of the SPFL itself.
The club calling itself Rangers was obliterated.
A new club calling itself Rangers crawled out of the wreckage, but they are not the same entity.
If they had been there would have been no grounds for throwing them out of the SPL and into the bottom tier and Charles Green could – and would – have fought that issue through the courts until the cows came home.
Scottish football has been living with this cobblers since 2012.
People have hidden behind legal “verdicts” which made the matter as clear as mud. The SPFL has its own view on what happened, the SFA has another, UEFA takes a different line and now the courts have weighed in. In none of these has any explanation ever been offered as to how a club can survive the grave but not retain its legal status within the league, or the rights to the contracts of its players, or maintain its European co-efficient or its seeding place in the Scottish Cup.
You get sick arguing this point.
I know I’ll still be doing so for years to come.
But after today, there ought to be no more talk of “relegation”.
The law on this one is pretty clear.
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