Rangers newco: Charles Green blocks transfers of five ‘free agents’

Charles Green: blocking transfers of free agents. Picture: PA
Charles Green: blocking transfers of free agents. Picture: PA
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INTERNATIONAL clearance for the transfers of Steve Davis, Kyle Lafferty, Jamie Ness, Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith has been put on hold as Rangers newco continue to dispute the players’ status.

A number of Ibrox players, following advice from their union, PFA Scotland, rejected the chance to transfer their contracts from Rangers to Charles Green’s Sevco consortium.

Green rejects the claim that the players are free agents and the former Sheffield United chief executive sent letters to clubs across the UK warning them that the players who objected to the switch to Sevco were in breach of contract.

However, Naismith has moved to Everton, Whittaker has signed for Norwich City and Ness has joined Stoke City.

Northern Irish duo, Davis and Lafferty, are at Southampton and Swiss side Sion respectively.

The Scottish Football Association procedurally cannot complete the international transfer clearance (ITC), as it has to be signed by all parties.

But the association to which the players are affiliated can request temporary registration from Fifa to allow the player to play during the period of arbitration.

PFA Scotland solicitor, Margaret Gribbon, of Bridge Litigation, said last night: “It is no surprise. There are objections from Rangers plc and the newco.

“We knew it was going to happen. They were always going to do that and there is a process that now has to be followed. We are representing seven players – Steve Davis, Allan McGregor, Rhys McCabe, Sone Aluko, Jamie Ness, Kyle Lafferty and John Fleck.

“At the moment we are assisting two clubs to get clearance from Fifa and our application is being supported by letters from the English FA and PFA Scotland.”

A spokesperson for Fifa said: “At the time of writing, Fifa does not appear to have been approached by any association with respect to the international clearance of any particular player currently registered with Rangers FC.”

Last week Coventry confirmed the signing of Fleck after reaching an agreement with Green.

Meanwhile, Carlos Bocanegra looks at the Scottish Premier League without Glasgow Rangers and predicts a Celtic runaway.

“They’re going to win the league in December. It’s frustrating,” he said Sunday. “Sometimes I don’t understand. The people in the league, they want to punish (Rangers) for wrongdoing, but then they’re just hurting themselves.”

Unsure whether he will stay with bankrupt Rangers, Bocanegra will return to Scotland on Friday for preseason training.

“I’ve got to explore my options,” the American defender said. “I need to speak with the coach, as well. We kept missing each other. It wouldn’t be fair to speak out of turn if I haven’t spoken to him yet.”

Rangers manager Ally McCoist signed Bocanegra from France’s Saint-Etienne last August. The 140-year-old club, winner of a record 54 Scottish league titles, has tax debts of $32.7 million and entered bankruptcy protection in February. The club’s assets were purchased by a new company last month, but the team was refused admission to the Scottish Premier League.

Rangers could be placed in the second, third or fourth tier, and Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker and Allan McGregor are among the players who already have departed.

“A lot of the fans now are starting to turn on the players because that’s all they have left to get angry at,” said Bocanegra, the U.S. captain. “It’s just a tough situation, an unfortunate situation. Anybody who’s leaving or staying, it’s just a personal decision for those guys. You can’t blame anybody.”

If Rangers are placed in the Third Division, they couldn’t return to the Scottish Premier League until the 2015-16 season at the earliest.

“Hopefully they don’t put them down there, because I think that’s going to set Scottish football back so far. It’s such a big institution, big club over there,” Bocanegra said. “I love going to work every day. It’s seriously the coolest club I’ve ever been a part of.”

During his vacation at home in California, Bocanegra has spoken with his agent, Lyle Yorks, and said he will contact him after speaking with McCoist. He’s played for Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire (2000-04), England’s Fulham (2004-08), France’s Rennes (2008-10) and Saint-Etienne (2010-11) and could see himself returning to MLS. He attended Kansas City’s game Saturday night against Houston at Livestrong Sporting Park.

“I would never rule this out,” he said. “I like the league. I started here. I think it’s a good league - stadiums like this and New York. It’s awesome how much it’s grown. It’s not a second-tier league by any stretch of the imagination anymore.”