Rangers takeover: Club still insists CAS appeal route was never open

THE row between Rangers and the Scottish Football Association shows no sign of abating after the Ibrox club refuted the SFA’s claim that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) could have ruled in their disrepute charge.

A 12-month transfer embargo was imposed on Rangers over their non-payment of tax last season, but that was overturned in the Court of Session last Tuesday, with the issue sent back to the SFA’s Appellate Tribunal. However, Lord Glennie’s ruling appears to have been something of a pyrrhic victory for the Ibrox club.

Rangers, who currently owe more than £21 million in tax, face ejection from the Scottish Cup or suspension or expulsion from the game altogether unless the maximum £100,000 fine is found to be sufficient punishment – an extremely unlikely scenario.

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On Sunday, Charles Green, who is leading the consortium in place to buy Rangers, had the punitive sanctions in mind when he spoke about possible “disaster” for the club and Scottish football, but claimed he had little option but to go to the civil courts because the “Court of Arbitration in Sport was not open to the club.”

The SFA responded by denying the route to CAS was closed, with a statement that concluded: “Indeed, no representation was made by the club to the Scottish FA to discuss the possibility or the process of seeking arbitration via the Court of Arbitration for Sport before judicial review was actioned.”

To back up their argument, the SFA will cite article 62.2 (m) of their articles of association, which refers to the powers of the board: – “it may submit or refer claims by or against the Scottish FA to arbitration.”

However, that assertion was yesterday rejected by Rangers with a spokesman saying last night: “The Court of Session accepted Rangers’ position that it had no alternative route of appeal. The judgement from Lord Glennie made it crystal clear. CAS would not have heard the case.

“We repeat, we would like to see an outcome where common sense prevails and there is no damage to other clubs in Scottish football. “Rangers fully accept that there should be a sanction but it ought to be proportionate given the circumstances the club was in, ie, it was the victim of misdeeds of individuals who are no longer at the club.”

Green, whose offer to creditors will be put to a vote on 14 June, is considering his options and could appeal to the Court of Session to move the case back to the first stage of the SFA’s disciplinary process. Regardless of which body hears the case, the possible sanctions remain clear and potentially catastrophic for the Govan club.

There is no scope for “deals” to be done between Rangers and the SFA.

Only accepting the original transfer embargo would prevent the case going back to independent tribunal. However, Green would have difficulty in selling that idea to those Rangers fans who believe the SFA are antagonistic towards the Ibrox club, and who have celebrated Lord Glennie’s decision accordingly in the past week.

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