Rangers takeover: Season ticket money ‘ring-fenced’ says Charles Green
CHARLES Green has insisted that not a penny of season ticket income will be touched by his newco Rangers until the club’s immediate fate is decided by the SPL and SFA.
The Yorkshire businessman has laid the blame for the uncertainty among some Rangers supporters over the motives and wherewithal of his consortium firmly at the door of previous owners Craig Whyte and Sir David Murray.
Season ticket sales have been understandably slow so far as Rangers fans await the 4 July vote by SPL members at Hampden which will determine whether the reconstituted Ibrox club will be allowed to inherit a share in the top flight of Scottish football.
A reconvened SFA Appellate Tribunal also has to reconsider its punishment for the club, which was found guilty of several charges under Whyte’s stewardship, with the previous sanction of a 12-month transfer embargo potentially being replaced by suspension or expulsion from the game.
Chief Executive Green accepts that supporters have a difficult choice to make but has moved to try to ease concerns over what will happen to any funds they commit to the new club in the form of season ticket renewals.
“The fans of this club were let down by the previous owner and, to some extent, the owner before him,” said Green. “We never expected that would be forgotten overnight and, for us, it’s about repairing that trust and it’s a long-term thing. We are here for the long term and I don’t expect it to be an overnight success. Fans have to make decisions based on their conscience and what they think is right for the club.
“What I can tell them is that money is protected and it’s in an account which will not be used until I can sit in front of you and tell you where we’re playing and what league we’ll be in.
“We said in the letter that went out for renewals that any season ticket money we receive will be put in a specific account and it will be ring fenced.
“That catered for a number of contingencies, not least of which was that, in the event that we weren’t playing football in any league, because one of the options still open to the SFA with the appellate trial is that we could have our license withdrawn or removed completely.
“It would be improper and unfair for us to receive money when we can’t deliver a product. So that protection is still there. But what I would say to fans is that we will, in my view, be playing football in Scotland.
“I can’t say what league or division at this stage, which is really unfortunate, but there is full protection there and as things unfold over the next few weeks we’ll be able to come back to season ticket holders.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Rangers TV, Green also addressed the uncertainty over the status of the Rangers first-team squad who are scheduled to return for the start of pre-season training next week. He believes all players’ contracts will automatically transfer to his newco under UK labour law, but that is disputed by PFA Scotland, who claim their members are entitled to leave for free if they wish.
“From the moment HMRC announced they wouldn’t support the CVA, we contacted the staff and had a meeting with them and the administrator made them aware,” said Green.
“We, as a newco, started having discussions and, as far as we are concerned, all the contracts transferred under TUPE (employment regulations). Of course, the difficulty is some of the players haven’t been around, so it has been more difficult with the playing staff than the non-playing staff.
“We’ve been speaking to the PFA though and to individual agents and, as the players come back next week, Alistair [McCoist] and I will be sitting down with them and explaining where we are.”
Green also countered accusations from former Rangers director Dave King that his consortium, which purchased the business and assets of the club for £5.5 million last week after failure to exit administration through a CVA, are purely motivated by a desire to make a profit on their investment.
“I’d just like to clear up one
issue,” added Green. “We’re not here to make huge profits and to pay those profits out in dividends back to investors. But this club has to make a profit because any business, whether it’s a football club, a petrol filling station or a corner shop, has to do that.
“If it doesn’t make a profit, it goes out of business, and we haven’t spent all our time and resources to acquire this club then allow it to go back the same way within a year.
“We are not in here to make a fast buck and disappear. The investors who have come in have seen this as an opportunity to rebuild the club, but they see this as a long-term investment.
“We did offer to come to an arrangement with other people [the Walter Smith consortium] but that’s now finished and now we have to focus on moving forward. I can assure all fans that my group of people are here for the long term.
“We started from day one with the founders and we said we would go out and seek more cash and that’s where Zeus Capital have come in. The finance team are working as we speak but the last 10 days or so have put a slight delay on that because we weren’t sure whether Walter Smith was going to join us as a partner or even replace us.
“But now we are clear and we will go ahead with our plans and we will be announcing further investors in the next few weeks.
“For me it’s important that we have unity and move on. While it is a disappointment for Walter and his team, at least for the Rangers fans we have clarity. Nothing has changed from the statement I made at Murray Park on 13 May. We’re here to rescue the club, to turn it round and make sure it is on a sound financial platform.”
Meanwhile, SFL representatives met earlier today to discuss a proposal from the SPL which could see Rangers playing in the First Division next season.
It’s believed that such a move could help save the new four-year, £80m broadcasting deal with Sky and ESPN, with the broadcasters prepared to bite the bullet for a year before Rangers – and the Old Firm fixture – returned to their screens.
“We had a very productive meeting,” said SFL chief executive David Longmuir. “We’re right in the middle of discussing all the options and [Rangers dropping into the First Division] is part of it. There are other options available but we’re just trying to do what is best for Scottish football.”
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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