Rangers takeover: Green looks into making signings while in administration
PROSPECTIVE Rangers owner Charles Green is ready to pursue a potential loophole in SPL regulations to sign new players while the club remains in administration.
Ahead of Thursday’s Ibrox meeting with creditors when Green and administrators Duff and Phelps will seek to have their Company Voluntary Arrangement agreed, it has emerged that Rangers may attempt to bolster their squad even before any expiry of the automatic SPL signing embargo they have been under since going into administration on 14 February.
SPL Rule A6.20 allows the possibility of a club in administration replacing players whose contracts expire with new signings, subject to the approval of the SPL board of directors. Several Rangers players, including Sone Aluko, David Healy, Andrew Little and Salim Kerkar, will be out of contract at the club at the end of this month.
Theoretically at least, the SPL rule could afford Rangers a route to replace one of them with Rino Gattuso, the veteran Italian midfielder who has left AC Milan and is keen to rejoin the Ibrox club and return to his wife’s home in Glasgow.
“That is an avenue open to the club,” said Green last night. The former Sheffield United chief executive also confirmed he has drawn up a list of 19 potential signing targets, five of whom he says are involved at the Euro 2012 finals, which he outlined to a meeting of Rangers supporters last week.
The club had been banned from signing players for 12 months by a Scottish Football Association-appointed Judicial Panel, a decision upheld by an Appellate Tribunal but subsequently set aside by the Court of Session.
Any plans Green has for Rangers, however, will be shaped by the success or otherwise of Thursday’s CVA meeting. The attitude of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to accept the anticipated eight pence in the pound on offer to creditors will hold the key to achieving the 75 per cent vote in favour.
HMRC are owed £21.3 million by Rangers, even in advance of the outcome of the First Tier Tribunal on their claim to at least another £35 million from the Ibrox club for the controversial Employee Benefit Trust scheme operated by the Murray Group.
Club director Dave King last week stated his opposition to the CVA and called on creditors and fans to reject it – comments Green described as “destructive”.
Green, meanwhile, has claimed Rangers will have £30 million in the bank by the end of July thanks to the proceeds of a share issue and the backing of investors behind his Sevco consortium, most of whom have yet to be publicly identified.
“Rangers have never had that much cash in the bank,” said Green. “Because it was either siphoned off to Ticketus or to deal with financial inter-group companies.”
But Green again accepted that Rangers supporters are entitled to be wary of his motives as he looks to take control of the club.
“If I was a Rangers fan, I would be suspicious,” he added. “Because they can’t believe anything anyone has told them in the past.
“I understand why people are nervous and I think that’s healthy. I will have a contract. If you don’t like me, then sack me.”
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