Madjid Bougherra invokes 'Webster Ruling' as he turns his back on Ibrox

Madjid Bougherra has informed Rangers that he won't be playing for them next season. It's believed that they have received a letter from the Algerian defender, sent by recorded delivery, telling them that he's chosen to invoke Article 17 of FIFA's regulation for the status and transfer of players.

Better known as the Webster Ruling - after Andy Webster, who became the first player to exploit it when he left Hearts in 2006 - it states that any player who is 28 or older can buy out the remainder of his contract two years after the original deal was signed.

Bougherra was 28 in October and he signed from Charlton Athletic for 2.5m in July, 2008.

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His contract has only one more season to run and he can now buy his freedom for his basic annual wage, which means Rangers would receive just 1m.

It's believed that clubs interested in signing Bougherra have been quoted a fee of 3m but he prefers to leave on his own terms.

He hopes to attract offers from the Premier League and expects the lower price tag to make him a more attractive proposition.

Bougherra, as FIFA's regulations dictate, has supplied Rangers with notice of his intentions within 15 days of the final league fixture of the season.

The player has won three SPL championships as well as one Scottish Cup and a League Cup during his time at Ibrox and his decision to leave will present a problem for new manager Ally McCoist and owner Craig Whyte, one which will be exacerbated should club captain David Weir, 40, decide to retire or move on.

Webster set a precedent when he walked out on Hearts to sign for Wigan Athletic in August, 2006, in spite of having a year left on his contract at Tynecastle.

Hearts, who had valued the Scotland defender at 650,000, pursued the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, who ruled that they were entitled to only 150,000 in compensation.

Ironically, Rangers took advantage of Webster's failure to break into Wigan's first team to bring him back north but the injury-prone 29-year-old started just three matches for them in four years and is now back at Tynecastle.