RANGERS manager Ally McCoist has called on players to be “up front and honest” about their intentions in the face of reports that many will not transfer to Charles Green’s newco Ibrox club.
McCoist accused players and their agents of using the transfer of contracts issue as an “excuse to go and play somewhere else” as reports emerged yesterday that Sone Aluko and Rhys McCabe have lodged lawyers’ letters with the club exercising their right under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations to reject a transfer to the newco.
Rangers players are set to return for pre-season training on Thursday, the same day they are to be paid the terms they were on before agreeing to wage cuts when the club went into administration. However, many are reluctant to return amid fears that this would weaken the watertight case that the PFA Scotland believe they have for opting to become free agents. Green has disputed this interpretation of TUPE, maintaining that player contracts automatically transferred across when his Sevco consortium purchased the assets of the old Rangers.
Green warned yesterday that any player who tries to force a move away could face legal action. Green said: “The transfer of contracts has already happened and the club’s clear legal advice is that players’ purported objection is ineffective.
“Rangers would like to make it abundantly clear to players, agents and the chairmen and managers of other football clubs that we will take whatever steps necessary to challenge what we regard as a breach of contract to protect the interests of our club.”
McCoist accepted that the fact the new Rangers do not know which league they will be playing in next season made it “understandable” if players were looking at options. But he called on them to be open about it.
“I don’t want Rangers fans to be reading over the next few days how devastated players are about having to go,” the manager said. “The fans deserve better than that. They are not daft. I already know there are agents touting my players all over the United Kingdom, so let’s be brutally honest. We are in a difficult situation and the contracts issue has given some players and agents the belief they can use it to leave the club. After all that the club and the fans have gone through, the supporters, above all, deserve the truth.
“At all times during my first year as manager I strived to show players respect and in return would have hoped they would have shown me, and more importantly the club, respect by notifying us of their intentions before making it known elsewhere. Players have their own decisions to make, and I understand that, but the question they have to ask themselves is do they want to play for Rangers or not? The formation of a new company is not the issue. The players would be playing for the same club – Rangers – in front of the same fans.”
Green warned that his company will fight any attempts by players to disregard their contracts. “We are meeting the PFA Scotland and their legal advisers on Monday with a view to allaying players’ concerns about the transfer of contracts so the timing of these announcements by players is hard to understand,” he said.