RANGERS are expected to be granted a transfer of their Scottish Football Association membership today which will allow them to begin their newly-constituted era with an already sold-out Ramsdens Cup first-round tie against Brechin City at Glebe Park on Sunday.
• Charles Green hopeful of securing SFA membership in time for Sunday’s Ramsdens Cup match against Brechin City
• Talks with Stuart Regan went “very well”; Green hopeful that membership will be finalised “within the next 24 hours”
• “As far as I am concerned now we have no outstanding issues with the SFA. It’s now purely process and documentation”
Negotiations between Charles Green’s Sevco consortium and the Scottish football authorities were understood to be nearing a conclusion last night, although the SFA were not in a position to make any formal announcement by close of business.
The Scottish Premier League’s pursuit of a television deal which would include Rangers’ fixtures in the Third Division of the Scottish Football League, thereby preserving BSkyB’s interest in Scottish football, was among the obstacles to agreement being reached on the soon-to-be-liquidated Ibrox club’s SFA membership being transferred to Green’s newco.
But it is understood the SFA anticipate being able to issue the membership today, following further talks between their chief executive Stewart Regan and Green. As part of the deal, Rangers will accept the 12-month signing embargo imposed on them by an SFA Judicial Panel for bringing the game into disrepute under former owner Craig Whyte’s calamitous tenure.
It will begin at the close of the current transfer window on 1 September, allowing Rangers manager Ally McCoist some leeway to build a squad for the forthcoming season in Scottish football’s fourth tier. Former Hearts players Ian Black and Craig Beattie both trained at Murray Park yesterday in anticipation of potential moves to Rangers. “We are making good progress,” said Green yesterday. “I spoke to the chief executive of the SFA, Stewart Regan, this morning and that went very well. I have also just spoken to [SPL chief executive] Neil Doncaster and I will be meeting both of them later today.
“I’m really hopeful now that, within the next 24 hours, we can have this thing signed and sealed and Alistair can start loading his players on a team coach to go up and try to win a match on Sunday.
“Most of the things are now clear to all parties. As far as I am concerned now, we have no outstanding issues with the SFA. It’s now purely process and documentation. We have no issues with the Scottish Football League and just some minor points to resolve with the SPL and I’m hopeful we can do that today.”
Green, meanwhile, issued a further declaration of his intent to resist any offers for Rangers which would allow any individual to have a controlling interest in the club. It came in the wake of Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy’s latest offer of £5.6 million for a 51 per cent stake.
“I don’t believe that anyone should own this club entirely or to be able to control it,” Green told Rangers TV. “That’s why all of the investors we have at the moment have small share-holdings and, when we do the next fund raising, those share-holders will be diluted even further.
“I think that’s healthy for the club. As I have said from day one, if I can keep everyone between ten and 15 per cent, then that’s the best plan. It would be wrong to sell 51 per cent to one person.
“When you look at the amounts being offered, they are less than what we paid for the club. We have no intention of selling but we definitely wouldn’t be selling for less than we paid for it.”
“It’s really frustrating. It seems every two weeks we get someone who is going to make an offer for the club.
“Yesterday it was Brian, last week it was Bomber Brown, a couple of weeks before that it was Walter [Smith] and it’s just a big distraction.
“I have never met Brian Kennedy. I have spoken with him twice now. I spoke to him from the lawyer’s office when we got the exclusivity and he did ring me to congratulate me after the deal was completed.
“I said to Brian then and I have said on a number of times to other people, if anyone wants to be part of what we are doing at Rangers, bring a cheque and join the team.
“That’s what we said to Jim McColl, Douglas Park and Walter and also to Dave King. This is a big club and there is room for other investors.”
Meanwhile, the SFL yesterday confirmed that Rangers’ Scottish Communities League Cup first-round tie against East Fife – in what will be the Ibrox club’s first home game of the season – will take place at Ibrox on Tuesday, 7 August at 7.45pm.