Rangers newco: Charles Green dismisses new Brian Kennedy interest
RANGERS chief executive Charles Green has dismissed Brian Kennedy’s latest expression of interest in the Ibrox club, accusing the Edinburgh-born businessman of distracting focus from the ongoing negotiations to obtain SFA membership for the newco.
• Brian Kennedy earlier confirmed he had made an offer for newco Rangers
• Charles Green’s Sevco consortium bought assets for £5.5m
• Kennedy was twice unsuccessful earlier in the takeover process
Sale Sharks owner Kennedy, previously unsuccessful in attempts to buy Rangers both on his own and in conjunction with former club director Paul
Murray’s Blue Knights consortium, confirmed yesterday that he had submitted a fresh £5.6 million offer for a 51 per cent stake with Green’s Sevco consortium on 25 June which remains on the table.
But Green disputed Kennedy’s claim that he has held several “recent” meetings with a representative of the Sevco shareholders. The Yorkshire businessman also repeated his determination, first declared when he signed a binding contract to purchase Rangers back on 13 May, that no individual will have a controlling interest in the club.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the owners and board of the club are not interested in selling a majority stake in Rangers to anyone,” said Green. “I have said many times we are happy to talk to potential investors who wish to join the consortium on the basis that no single investor will have a majority shareholding and they support our commitment to a share issue for fans.
“We have checked with all the official representatives of shareholders and none of them have had meetings with Brian Kennedy so we have no idea who the gentleman is he is referring to. He has not contacted any board members on this matter and we have never received any written offer from him.
“Many people had the opportunity to purchase the club prior to our consortium but failed to do so, including Mr Kennedy. Talk of yet more bids is a distraction from the very real task of securing SFA membership and rebuilding the club for the future. That is our sole focus and should be the priority for everyone with Rangers’ best interests at heart.”
It seems unlikely Kennedy would consider investing in Rangers without being in a position to direct the strategy of the club. In his brief statement issued yesterday, he expressed his irritation at news of his latest bid becoming public.
“I have recently had several confidential meetings with a gentleman representing the shareholders of Sevco, with regards to my interest in purchasing a majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club,” said Kennedy.
“The details of these meetings and the written offer I have submitted have been disclosed from within the club. Now that this has leaked I have I have no alternative but to confirm it is accurate. I have no further comment to make at this time.”
Talks continued yesterday over Rangers’ application for the transfer of their SFA membership from oldco to newco, in conjunction with efforts to salvage a broadcasting contract with BSkyB and ESPN in the wake of the club being voted into the Irn-Bru Third Division by Scottish Football League clubs.
The Scottish Premier League are seeking to retain an interest in Rangers’ media rights, despite expelling them from the top flight, while the SFL are seeking to capitalise on the presence of the Ibrox club to strike their own TV deal.
Neither the SPL or BSkyB would comment yesterday, although it was perhaps telling that SPL slots which had been on Sky Sports’ listings for the the first few weeks of the forthcoming season were removed from their website.
There has been conjecture over how Rangers’ initial status as associate members of the SFL would affect their share of any TV deal. The SFL’s Rule 19 states that an associate member “shall have no financial interest in the assets of the League”.
However, Rule 68.1 clarifies that monetary awards from commercial agreements will be made to “each member and associate member in the three League Championship competitions”.
As Rangers await confirmation of SFA membership, they have announced season ticket price cuts of up to 50 per cent. None will be sold until they are SFA members. Full adult and concession prices have been reduced by a third and children’s tickets have been cut in half. Prices start at £65 for juveniles and £258 for adults.
“We hope to provide further details on the timing of season ticket renewal distribution and payment methods later in the week once the position becomes clearer,” said a club spokesman yesterday.
The SFL, meanwhile, confirmed that Rangers’ first round Ramsdens Cup tie against Brechin City this weekend has been put back 24 hours to Sunday with a 3.05pm kick-off to accommodate live television coverage on BBC Alba.
But the continued delay over securing SFA membership, which will also be conditional on the newco accepting sanctions previously imposed on the club, have forced Fife junior club Kelty Hearts to postpone a testimonial match for long-serving player Stefan Winiarski tomorrow night.
A crowd of around 3000 was expected at Kelty’s Central Park ground for what would have been Rangers’ first public outing this season.
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