67 players in queue to take on Rangers in contracts legal battle
RANGERS are hoping to block potential compensation claims from PFA Scotland on behalf of 67 unnamed players.
The employment tribunal claim relates to the dispute between Rangers chief executive Charles Green and players’ union PFA Scotland over the transfer of players’ contracts under TUPE employment regulations in the wake of the Ibrox club’s failure to exit administration through a CVA.
In their share issue prospectus, Rangers declared that PFA Scotland had raised the claims and that they would “robustly” defend themselves.
The prospectus also states that former Ibrox players Sone Aluko, Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ness have raised constructive dismissal claims. The three players were among nine who refused to transfer their contracts over to Green’s company, which bought the club’s assets and business after “oldco” Rangers, now called RFC 2012, were consigned to liquidation in June.
PFA Scotland last night declined to comment but it is believed the claims were brought in a strategic move as part of an arbitration battle which will be decided by the Scottish Football Association.
Rangers are demanding compensation over the Ibrox exit of six of the players who declined to join the new company.
The prospectus says: “PFA Scotland has raised an employment tribunal claim against RFCL (The Rangers Football Club Limited) on behalf of 67 unnamed players at the employment tribunal in Glasgow.
“The claim relates to an alleged failure on behalf of RFC 2012 plc to inform and consult with affected employees prior to the TUPE transfer on 14 June 2012.
Both RFCL and Rangers 2012 plc have been cited and compensation can be awarded on a joint and several basis.
“RFCL’s advisers have taken issue with PFA’s right to bring such a claim on behalf of the players.
Senior counsel’s advice has been taken on the matter and a robust opinion has been given to the effect that PFA Scotland has no locus or standing to raise such a claim.
If RFCL’s preliminary challenge to the bringing of this claim is successful that will be the end of the matter. It is not currently possible to quantify these claims in full.”
Rangers say they have also challenged the right of Aluko, Lafferty and Ness to bring the claims against the club, but added that “in any event these are low value claims” with the club’s advisers suggesting they have been brought for “tactical purposes” ahead of the SFA hearing.
Aluko signed for Hull, Ness left Ibrox for Stoke and Lafferty went to Swiss side Sion after the club lost their battle to come out of administration via an agreement with creditors.
Deals were agreed with clubs after Steven Davis, John Fleck and Rhys McCabe left but a complaint against a total of six registration transfers will be heard by an SFA panel, including those involving Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker. The complaint was made by oldco Rangers and the newco club say the players’ representatives have challenged their right to participate in the process given the new regime did not have SFA membership at the time of departure.
Rangers said a preliminary hearing had been fixed for 7 January with a full hearing expected in March or April if they win the right to continue their challenge.
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